Headless SHRC rendered dysfunctional; Commission loses Member, IGP, Staffer

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By: Umer Maqbool
Srinagar, Dec 3: In a move seen as aimed at “clipping wings” of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), Jammu and Kashmir government has shifted the Inspector General of Police (IGP) posted in the Commission and one of the members of the rights body has also retired recently. The Commission is headless since October this year following the completion of the term by its chairman.
Not only this, a staffer of the rights body has also been diverted to the one-man Commission of Inquiry (COI) of Justice HS Bedi probing the mysterious death of National Conference activist, Sayeed Muhammad Yousuf.
Informed sources told Greater Kashmir, that the state government unilaterally transferred IGP (Investigation Wing) of the Commission, Gulzar Singh Slathia, last week.
While other police posts reshuffled in the cabinet meeting last month were replaced, however, surprisingly, no officer of IGP rank was posted in SHRC, after shifting Slathia as IGP armed Jammu, they said.
“Our investigation wing has been rendered headless by this transfer. Before, Slathia was transferred here, an officer of the rank of DIG headed the wing till last year. Now only SSP is the highest investigating officer posted here,” they added.
“All complaints where the Commission or the complainants doubt the report provided by police, were being handed-over to the Investigation Wing for holding impartial and transparent inquiry. The report about mass graves was also based on its findings,” they said.
Pertinently, the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act- 1997, provides for posting of a full-fledged IGP for the “efficient performance of the Commission”.
While the Commission continues to be headless since October 24, as already reported by this newspaper, its one of the members Abdur Rashid Khan also retired two weeks ago.
“The entire load of running the Commission has come on the shoulders of two members, while the third member runs the Jammu office. We were already facing number of inconveniences due to absence of the Chairperson, but the manpower shortage has aggravated the problem,” a top official in the Commission wishing anonymity said.
The SHRC comprises of a chairperson and four members, appointed by the Governor on the recommendations of a committee headed by the Chief Minister.
Amid these developments, government has also shifted one of the staffers of SHRC to the CoI probing the death of NC worker Sayeed Muhammad Yousuf alias Haji Yousuf.
Insiders in the rights body said that staffer Nazir Ahmad was shifted, without the Commission’s concurrence, to assist Justice Bedi commission.
“They need consent of the SHRC whenever they have to transfer our staffer. How can they do it, when Chairperson is not here and members have not given their consent,” they added.
When contacted, State Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar said that state government is concerned vis-a-vis absence of chairperson and members of the SHRC.
“We have initiated the process of appointing the SHRC chairperson and we will also provide IGP to the rights body shortly,” he added.

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