Shootout at Goregoan: ‘Shopian Scientist Was Killed In Fake Encounter’

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Srinagar—Mohammad Iqbal Wani, a brilliant computer scientist, was killed by police in a ‘fake encounter’ at Goregoan Mumbai in 2003. Mumbai Police had claimed Wani was Lashker-e-Toiba ‘operative’ and recovered Rs for lakhs from his possession.

However, Wani’s mother, Zaina Begum, and J&K Police, rebutted the claims. The police informed a court that Wani was not involved in any “anti-national activities, as such, Union of India and State of Mahrashtra and the J&K State have failed to protect the life, liberty and property of an innocent civilian.”

In a petition before the J&K high court, Zaina Begum submitted her son was doing business in computer hardware and software sale and purchase in his native township Shopian. He used to purchase software from Maharashtra.

In 2003, she said, Wani stayed in a Hotel wherefrom he was arrested in the same manner as many other Kashmiri students and business by police in various States of India for “frisking and encounter.”

“He was killed in custody on 29 March 2003 within the jurisdiction of P/S Goregoan Mumbai, in a fake encounter which was managed Mumbai police for their mala fide designs and for earning appreciation and boosting their ranks in the department.”

She said Wani was carrying cash of Rs 7 lakh and odd with him in connection within his business. ‘Out of this amount, Rs. 4 lakhs were shown to have been recovered from the possession of the deceased whereas remaining Rs. 3 lakhs and odd were pocketed illegally by police,” she said.  

Born on 10 March 1972, Wani after passing B.A Examination from Kashmir University in 1996 had undergone training in Computer Hardware and Network Engineering from Premier Academy of Computer Education (PACE) during 1996-97 as also had undergone Higher Diploma in Software Engineering (HDSE) training.

Simultaneously he got training in computer software from Rose Polytechnic Srinagar and APTECH computer Education during 1996-97. He was also all-rounder sportsman and was awarded merit certificates by the Youth Services & Sports Department of J&K. “He was a brilliant computer Engineer/scientist. For his scientific ability and capability in software/hardware in computer engineering, he was recognized as a MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) and was awarded a certificate of excellence duly signed by world renowned and acclaimed Computer Scientist and founder of World famous Microsoft Company, USA, Sir BILGATE,” she said. 

Wani’s body was brought back from Goregoan Police Station by his relatives and was buried at Shopian amongst tears.

Then SSP Pulwama Vipul Kumar told pressmen: “We have nothing incriminating against (Wani). He was not a listed militant, had no militancy related record. He simply was a computer Engineer.”

“SHO police station Shopian submitted a report to the CJM Shopian, declaring that (Wani) was not involved in any anti-national activities, as such, Union of India and State of Mahrashtra and the J&K State have failed to protect the life, liberty and property of an innocent civilian and have put (her mother) and other dependents of the deceased to great irreparable loss, mental agony and uncertain future life,” a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar observed in an order passed here.

“They are therefore, responsible for having violated the constitutional guarantees under Arts 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution,” the SHO said.

On the other hand, Union of India objected to the plea, saying the J&K High Court has no jurisdiction, because cause of action has accrued to Zainab at state of Maharashtra and that occurrence as alleged by her has taken place in the jurisdiction of P/S Goregoan Mumbai.

It said Wani died in the police operation “as he was member of banned (militant) organization viz. Lashk ar-e-Toiba; three including deceased died in the operation. Deceased was travelling in stolen Motor Car and a operation was conducted on the secret information received by Unit of Crime Branch Mumbai Unit.”

along with other persons sensed the danger and started firing on police with AK-47 and pistol; the deceased was carrying .380 pistol and he fired 4 rounds and police in self defense retaliated and deceased died.

Referring to Supreme Court’s judgement, the high court agreed to with the objections by Union of India on the point of jurisdiction.

 However, it said that Zaina Begum may approach competent court of territorial jurisdiction for redressal of her grievance.

 

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