November 2002 News

J&K militants get lifer for killing official

9 November 2002
The Times of India

SRINAGAR: A court on Saturday sentenced three members of a militant group in Kashmir to life in prison for killing a forest official six years ago. The three members of the Ikhwan militia were convicted of abducting forest official Ghulam Mohammed Shah and torturing him at their camp in January 1996. The victim''s relatives and witnesses testified that the three accused - Abdul Ahad Rather, alias Tiger, Bashir Ahmed Bhat and Zahoor Ahmed - wrapped Shah in polythene and set him on fire. Shah died of serious burns a day later, sparking massive protests in his township of Awantipora, 30 km south of Srinagar. The trio was arrested several months later and brought before a sessions court in Pulwama, where they confessed to the crime, according to court officials. Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, has pledged to provide a ''healing touch'' to Kashmir, in part by prosecuting security forces who violate human rights. Ikhwan was set up in 1994 by surrendered Muslim militnats to help security forces in their anti-insurgency operations. But with the passing of time, some of its members have been accused of extortion and killings.


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