Rising concern over J&K custody deaths
1 June 2001
The Asian Age
New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo-moto cognisance of media reports alleging “rise in custodial deaths,” which had triggered off protests by civilians across the Kashmir valley. It has issued notice to the chief-secretary and director-general of the police in Jammu and Kashmir as well as to the ministries of home affairs and defence and has asked them to report to the Commission on this matter within eight weeks. According to newspaper reports, one Aijaz Ahmad Kitab had been arrested and later killed in a fake encounter by the Special Operation Group of Police on May 20. The report also stated that the DGP had clarified that the victim had been listed as a militant and had later been killed in an encounter, which was not acceptable to the public. This was one instance of six controversial custodial killings reported in Jammu and Kashmir recently. These killings had triggered off protest demonstrations all across the state. The Commission had also received complaints from a resident of Mumabi, who had submitted local newspaper reports alleging other custodial deaths in Kashmir. According to these reports, one Gulzar Ahmad Ganie was taken into custody by troops and subjected to torture. He was released in critical condition and later expired in hospital due to the injuries he sustained. One Ghulam Mohammad Bhatt was picked up for questioning and tortured.