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 International organization implicates CRPF in shopian rape and murder

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PostSubject: International organization implicates CRPF in shopian rape and murder   Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:33 am

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International People’s Tribunal points finger at JK police, CRPF

DANISH NABI

Srinagar, July 19: The International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir—a civil human rights society working in Kashmir—released a detailed report Sunday on double rape and murder of women in Shopian on May 29, hinting at the involvement of JK Police and paramilitary CRPF in the incident.
The 29-page report has been sent to all international human rights organizations, United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and the Jammu and Kashmir government.
“The topography of the area and certain evidence pointed to the possible involvement of either police or paramilitary personnel in the incident. During our interviews, local communities and institutions repeatedly stated that the police harbored both killers and witnesses in their own home,” the report says.
It says the military and paramilitary forces present in strength in and outside Shopian makes the area prone to rape and murder by security forces.
“Through the conduct of inquiry into the mismanagement of the criminal investigations, the police were selectively implicated while the actions of CRPF personnel were not placed under diligent scrutiny,” it adds.
The report says the bodies of Asiya and Neelofar were found at a spot which was in-focus of the search lights of the nearby paramilitary CRPF camp.
“Both bodies were found within the ambit of the searchlights of the CRPF camp in a high security Red Zone, regularly monitored and patrolled by security personnel. It is unlikely that those who may have carried the bodies would not have attracted the notice of security personnel. The placement of the bodies in the Rambi-Ara would have required either a heavy vehicle or an animal to carry them or they needed to be shouldered by two or more persons,” it reads.
“Neelofar’s body was found placed in-between the police camp and the orchard, on the Rambi-Ara, at the very spot where the search party had been active the night of May 29-30, until 2.30 am,” it adds.
The report says the then SP of Shopian Javaid Iqbal Mattoo visited the family after the incident and threatened them.
“On May 30, 2009, officials of the Special Task Force and CRPF as well as the SP visited Shakeel Ahmad’s home for undisclosed reasons. The SP was reportedly irate and threatened family members. He is reported to have stated: I will not spare anyone. I will kill everyone,” the report says.
It says the police tried to hush up the case and termed the incident as a routine case. “Do not lose heart, such incidents keep taking place,” it says quoting the SP, adding the SP ordered the force for tear gas shelling over the protesters after the bodies were found.
The report says the police were part of the search party that was searching for the bodies after they disappeared. However, it says the police did not register case of rape and murder in the incident.
For the crime that happened on May 29, it says, “No investigations were commenced on May 30, or shortly after, to inquire into this matter.”
The report has been produced by convener IPTK and Prof Anthropology Dr Angana Chatterji, California Institute of Integral Studies; convener IPTK and Founder Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Parvez Imroz; convener IPTK and Editorial Consultant Economic and Political Weekly Gautam Navlakha; Convener IPTK and Vice-President, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society Zahir-Ud-Din; Legal Counsel IPTK and Lawyer, Mumbai High Court and Supreme Court of India Advocate Mihir Desai; and Liaison IPTK and Programme Coordinator Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society Khurram Parvez.
The report has given a detailed overview, based on the eyewitness account, of the incident. It has given a complete chronology of events following the incident, including a critical account of the recently submitted Justice Muzaffar Jan commission report.
The report has criticized investigation report submitted by the Justice (Retd) Muzzaffar Jan Commssion probing the case. It says the commission has failed to identify the culprits while ruling out several recommendations made by the commission.
The report says the disowning of the report by Justice (Retd) Muzaffar Jan raised critical questions regarding the involvement of government institutions and security forces in destabilizing the investigations. It says the commission report was cross referenced and most part of it was not in the knowledge of the commission. “We note that while Justice Jan stated that segments of the report were authored without his knowledge, it appears from the way that the report is cross-referenced that the Commission perhaps did have knowledge of the full contents of the report,” it says.
“We note that it would be inappropriate to contend that the various issues and unanswered questions around the investigation centre on the ‘mismanagement’ of the report,” it adds.
It says senior security and state officials might be involved in destabilizing the investigations.
“The disowned part of the Justice (Retired) Muzaffar Jan report may have been ordered by very senior security and other state officials. Therefore, the supposition that only junior police officers were involved in the destabilizing of the investigations is unsatisfactory, pointing to obstruction of justice at high levels of institutional authority,” it says.
The commission report, it says, was inconclusive and it has failed to offer a coherent narrative about the modus-operandi of the crime. It says the mandate of the Justice (Retd) Muzaffar Jan Commission was not actualized while as it also failed to comment on the possible role of the CRPF in the matter.
It says the commission disheartened Kashmir civil society and it did not focus on the actual crimes that were committed.
“The Commission’s report noted, and identified, officers that had acted to subvert the investigative process and falsified testimony. However, the report did not comment or question whether the officers acted individually, which remained unlikely given the structure and context of their actions,” it reads.
The report says the commission failed to establish the cause of death for Asiya Jan and Neelofar Jan and it did not corroborate their gang rape.
The report has criticized the commission for not investigating the instructions given to officers to destroy the evidence and subvert the investigative process. “The Commission also did not raise questions regarding the conduct of the state institutions, including the state government and security apparatus,” it reads.
“The Commission has failed to answer: Why the police did not follow the proper investigation procedure? Why the bodies of Asiya Jan and Neelofar Jan were covered in clothing in a way that may have destroyed the evidence? And why the area where the bodies were found was not cordoned off to preserve the evidence?,” it reads, adding, “The report failed to answer why security personnel had repeatedly offered false testimony and misled the family and public during the course of the investigation.”
The report says the commission failed to establish a consistent timeframe for the death of Asiya Jan and Neelofar Jan.
Citing references from international organizations, it says the Commission did not discuss the uneven relations between security forces and civilians in which rape could have taken place while it also fails to discuss the incident as a ‘war crime’.
It says the commission report has no mention of the second Forensic Science Laboratory report confirming the gang rape of the victims. It says the commission did not report the conclusions put forward by Dr Shaheen about the incident.
It says the commission included ‘libellous’ and ‘unsubstantiated’ statements about the character of Asiya Jan, Neelofar Jan, and Shakeel Ahmad.
“The report manipulated the distinctions in class status between Neelofar Jan and Shakeel Ahmad to speculate about the involvement of Neelofar Jan’s brother, as well as Shakeel Ahmad, in the rape and murder of Asiya Jan and Neelofar Jan,” it says.
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