CBI's Shopian Probe An Injustice To Kashmir

15 December 2009
CNN-IBN


Srinagar: Kashmir Valley on Tuesday reacted with outrage and disbelief at the CBI probe report into the deaths of two women in Shopian town in May. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report ruled out rape and murder of the two women. The 66-page report instead says that Neelofar Jan, 22, and her sister-in-law Asiya Jan, 17, accidentally drowned in a water channel on May 29. It absolves four police officers arrested for the deaths. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the report as 'trumped up' to prove Chief Minister Omar Abdullah correct. A strike was observed in Kashmir Valley on Tuesday and around two dozen people were wounded in protests against the CBI report. In Shopian town, people staged protests denouncing the CBI report. In Srinagar, police used batons and teargas to disperse protesters. Is the CBI report a cover-up? Does Kashmirís rejection of the CBIís report reflect its mistrust of the governmentís promise of justice and fair play? Will Kashmiris never trust the Indian state? CNN-IBNís Senior Editor Sagarika Ghose asked this on Face The Nation to PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, Praveen Swami, Associate Editor at The Hindu, Aditya Raj Kaul, founder-member of the Roots in Kashmir group, and Vrinda Grover, lawyer and member of the Independent Women's Initiative for Justice, which has prepared its own probe report on the Shopian case. 'There is a consistent and systematic cover-up (in the CBI report),' alleged Grover, who showed a photograph of the water body in which the two Shopian have supposed to have drowned. 'No adult or child can drown in this much water.' Grover questioned the manner and time at which the womenís bodies were found and pointed out that the first autopsy report had ruled out drowning. She claimed the CBI had no evidence to prove or disprove that the women were raped. Everybody has been charge-sheeted in the case-lawyers and witnesses who donít support drowning-except the police who were accused of raping and murdering the women, said Grover. 'This is unprecedented in legal history.' Caution, said Swami. 'To make extreme statements when one has not seen the evidence the CBI has produced is perhaps intemperate,' he said. Kaul, too, pointed out that the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has said that the CBI report is not the 'gospel truth'. Kaul believed political parties and separatists are politicising the Shopian case. 'Stones were thrown at the PDP leader when she visited Shopian,' he said. 'I donít think this is between me and Omar Abdullah,' said Mehbooba Mufti while holding a document allegedly showing a photograph of one of the Shopian women. 'The CBI, with its report, is defying the intelligence of the common people (of Kashmir). They are saying that this woman who has blood all over her face drowned but her father, brother, or husband to defame the police said she was raped and killed,' said Mehbooba. 'It (the report) is like saying that the Babri Masjid came down itself. It is like saying that Sikhs were not killed (in riots) in 1984 and they died on their own.' But why would CBI submit such a report?'Öbecause the accusing finger points at men in uniform. And men in uniform will not be touched in Kashmir,' said Grover. Swami objected to that and said men in uniform have been 'repeatedly, especially in recent years, have been arrested, charged and prosecuted for similar offences'. 'The same CBI, which is now being abused, has filed charges against military officers for executing five innocent people in Panchalthan and passing them off as terrorists,' said Swami. 'Letís us wait for what the CBI has to say (in the Shopian case). Grover agreed that the CBIís evidence must point to a direction but if it is saying drowning then it is unacceptable. Kashmir Valley on Tuesday reacted with outrage and disbelief at the CBI probe report into the deaths of two women in Shopian town in May. The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) report ruled out rape and murder of the two women. The 66-page report instead says that Neelofar Jan, 22, and her sister-in-law Asiya Jan, 17, accidentally drowned in a water channel on May 29. It absolves four police officers arrested for the deaths. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the report as 'trumped up' to prove Chief Minister Omar Abdullah correct. A strike was observed in Kashmir Valley on Tuesday and around two dozen people were wounded in protests against the CBI report. In Shopian town, people staged protests denouncing the CBI report. In Srinagar, police used batons and teargas to disperse protesters. Is the CBI report a cover-up? Does Kashmirís rejection of the CBIís report reflect its mistrust of the governmentís promise of justice and fair play? Will Kashmiris never trust the Indian state? CNN-IBNís Senior Editor Sagarika Ghose asked this on Face The Nation to PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, Praveen Swami, Associate Editor at The Hindu, Aditya Raj Kaul, founder-member of the Roots in Kashmir group, and Vrinda Grover, lawyer and member of the Independent Women's Initiative for Justice, which has prepared its own probe report on the Shopian case. 'There is a consistent and systematic cover-up (in the CBI report),' alleged Grover, who showed a photograph of the water body in which the two Shopian have supposed to have drowned. 'No adult or child can drown in this much water.' Grover questioned the manner and time at which the womenís bodies were found and pointed out that the first autopsy report had ruled out drowning. She claimed the CBI had no evidence to prove or disprove that the women were raped. Everybody has been charge-sheeted in the case-lawyers and witnesses who donít support drowning-except the police who were accused of raping and murdering the women, said Grover. 'This is unprecedented in legal history.' Caution, said Swami. 'To make extreme statements when one has not seen the evidence the CBI has produced is perhaps intemperate,' he said. Kaul, too, pointed out that the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has said that the CBI report is not the 'gospel truth'. Kaul believed political parties and separatists are politicising the Shopian case. 'Stones were thrown at the PDP leader when she visited Shopian,' he said. 'I donít think this is between me and Omar Abdullah,' said Mehbooba Mufti while holding a document allegedly showing a photograph of one of the Shopian women. 'The CBI, with its report, is defying the intelligence of the common people (of Kashmir). They are saying that this woman who has blood all over her face drowned but her father, brother, or husband to defame the police said she was raped and killed,' said Mehbooba. 'It (the report) is like saying that the Babri Masjid came down itself. It is like saying that Sikhs were not killed (in riots) in 1984 and they died on their own.' But why would CBI submit such a report?'Öbecause the accusing finger points at men in uniform. And men in uniform will not be touched in Kashmir,' said Grover. Swami objected to that and said men in uniform have been 'repeatedly, especially in recent years, have been arrested, charged and prosecuted for similar offences'. 'The same CBI, which is now being abused, has filed charges against military officers for executing five innocent people in Panchalthan and passing them off as terrorists,' said Swami. 'Letís us wait for what the CBI has to say (in the Shopian case). Grover agreed that the CBIís evidence must point to a direction but if it is saying drowning then it is unacceptable.