Srinagar, May 16: A court on Wednesday directed police to record the statements of family members of civilian Abbas Ahmad Rather who was killed in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on April 9 last year when parliamentary elections took place.
Judicial magistrate Budgam directed the police to comply with its orders requiring them to record the statements of Rather’s mother and sister who are eyewitnesses.
“Despite repeated court orders and the passage of more than a year, the police have chosen to disregard court orders and side with the accused armed forces personnel,” said a spokesperson of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society in a statement issued here.
“The proceedings in the instant case serve as an illustration of the struggle for justice, and the state of absolute impunity, in Jammu and Kashmir.”
On 9 April last year, two civilians—Abbas Ahmad Rather (22) and Faizan Ahmad Dar (11), both resident of Hardu Dalwan Chrar-i-Sharief Budgam were killed in armed forces firing at the same location, outside the Government Secondary School (used as a polling booth on that day). Police Station Chrar-i-Sharief filed FIR (no. 21/2017) based on a report from Sub-Inspector Ajay Kumar Upadhyay (E Coy 18th Bn BSF) alleging attack on forces by a “violent mob”.
Contesting this version, fathers of both civilians killed approached the police and submitted that their sons were killed in unprovoked, targeted firing, said J&KCCS. Police refused to file an FIR with this version of events, and so they approached the Chief Judicial Magistrate Budgam, who directed, in separate orders, that while the second FIR may not be registered, the police take into consideration the version of the family members of the killed civilians while carrying out investigations. On the refusal of the police to record any statements, Rather’s father again approached the court (Judicial Magistrate, Budgam) that directed the investigating officer (Ali Mohammad Dar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, SDPO, Chrar-i-Sharief) to appear in court.
“The investigating officer chose to disregard the direction for appearance and the court then, on 17 April, once again directed that the statements of the family members be recorded,” the court said. on Wednesday while initially arguing that recording of statements was the prerogative of the police, the prosecution officer stated that the statements would be recorded and sought time which was granted till 25 May, the JKCCS said. (GNS)