We Have CD Showing Militants Torturing Villagers: J&K Police
18 February 2007
The Indian Express
New Delhi: The J&K police have come across a video CD which shows masked militants humiliating three villagers and beating them with sticks to obtain 'confessions' about 'immoral activities'. This comes at a time when the police are probing some of their own for alleged involvement in fake encounters. IG S M Sahai, in-charge of Kashmir range, said the CD was recovered from a militant hideout and was shot sometime in spring or summer last year by the militants themselves. It shows three villagers, stripped to their underwear, standing in an orchard which police say is on the outskirts of Sopore. Police identified the three men as Manzoor Ahmad of Arampora, Bashir Ahmad Reshi, a driver from Watlab, and Saifuddin of Panzipore. In the CD, for over an hour, the masked militants beat them, making them 'confess' to acts such as smoking charas, drinking, gambling. Their backs blue from the beating, the three men keep pleading for their lives. They are made to promise they will pray five times a day and never commit immoral activities again. One militant, identified by police as Showkat Ahmad Najar alias Muna Janwari of Lashkar-e-Toiba's Salfi group, makes a villager 'confess' into a cellphone about an 'illicit relationship'. Police say the man listening to the 'confession' on the cellphone was Osama Pahalwan, a Pakistani commander of the Lashkar. Sahai said the recording was made by local Lashkar militants to show their Pakistani commanders 'how effectively they are cleansing society.' 'These militants, who are a bunch of vagabonds with no standing in society, have used the power of the gun to inflict torture on people of their parents' age,' said Sahai. Last year the Salfi group in Sopore had imposed a 'social code'. There were several reports of similar sessions, in which people accused of acts deemed immoral were abducted and tortured. The cable network in town was halted with a grenade attack, and a doctor suspected of being a police informer had his throat slit. Police said they responded with raids on several hideouts. Osama Pahalwan was killed in a December 23 encounter in Dangarpore, on the outskirts of Sopore. On January 1, Muna Janwari and Ghulam Nabi Khoroo, who both appear on the CD, were killed in a raid on a hideout. They say they have also arrested Ashiq Hussain Bhat, a video-parlour owner who shot the video CD for the militants, and Firdaus Gojri and Javaid, two militants who took part in the torture.