March 2000 News

Inquiry ordered into elimination of alleged ''killers'' of Sikhs by Army

30 March 2000
Indian Express

Anantnag: Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Abdul Wahid today directed the police to register a case of murder and hold an inquiry into allegations that the five militants killed by the Army were innocent persons. The Army had eliminated five militants holding them responsible for the Sikh massacre on March 25. Directing the SHO Acchabal Police Station, Gazanfar Ali, to register a case under Section 302 and 364 of the Penal Code, the CJM appointed the DySP (Hqr), Anantnag, Sheikh Abdul Rehman, as an inquiry officer to ascertain whether the killed persons were militants or civilians. The inquiry officer shall submit his report to the court by April 6, he said. The order came on a complaint filed by 14 residents of Brari Angan (Anantnag), who alleged that the security forces had picked up two men from the village on March 24 and killed them the next morning. Pointing out that the deceased were in their 50s, the complaint identified the two. The identity of the militants killed by the Army, however, has not yet been established. Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had announced the elimination of the group in the Legislative Assembly, while the same was announced in Delhi by the Union Home Secretary. The CJM, while ordering the DySP to hold inquiry into the matter, also directed him not to succumb to any pressure from any quarter or receive any orders from his superior officers. He also directed the DIG, South Kashmir, to render all possible assistance to the inquiry officer for holding investigations. Meanwhile, Anantnag town observed complete bandh for the third consecutive day today, with thousands of people coming on the roads to contest the Army''s claim of having eliminated some militants responsible for Chitti Singhpora massacre. They pelted stones on the office of the deputy commissioner to press their demand for exhuming the bodies of the deceased. The call for bandh has been given by the Bar Council of Anantnag, besides the local Traders Federation and Students Association. The Mirwaiz Qazi Amanullah here also gave a call for indefinite bandh today. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Anantnag, Farooq Khan, welcomed the court''s order for inquiry into the matter, saying that it will remove suspicion from the minds of people. Deputy Commissioner Pawan Kotwal here today agreed in principle to exhume the bodies of five militants killed by security forces at Panchalthan and send them for DNA test. The assurance followed protest demonstration and stone pelting by angry residents at his office today.


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