Justice still deluding families of four ‘mentally unsound’ persons killed by Forces


Srinagar: Police have been investigating the incidents of four killings related to ‘mentally unsound’ or ‘beggars’ hailing from different parts of Kashmir Valley and till date neither responsibility has been fixed nor any culprit has been identified and booked.

On November 3, 2018, police registered a case after Army shot dead a “mentally unsound” man near the fence of an Army camp of 34 Rashtriya Rifles stationed at Pahnoo village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The FIR lodged by police claims that one ‘mentally challenged’ Rayees Ahmed Wani of Begumbagh Kulgam tried to walk into the Army camp when a sentry manning a bunker fired some warning shots in air but the man did not stop and he then fired some shots upon him, killing him on the spot.

“It is the outcome of draconian law AFSPA that is in vogue in Kashmir. Registration of an FIR is only to hoodwink people and family. We don’t expect any justice and punishment to killers,” said a family member of the deceased to news agency CNS.

In April 2010, Police registered a murder case against the Army after it identified a 70-year-old man namely Habibullah Khan (70), killed and dubbed as militant by the Army, as a beggar from Devar Kupwara.

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The man was identified after his body was exhumed on the orders of the Deputy Commissioner.

He according to his family was killed by soldiers from 6 Rashtriya Rifles in cold blood.

“We have been roaming from pillar to post to seek justice. So far nothing positive has come out,” said Manzoor Ahmed, a family member adding that after killing Habibullah Khan, the Army not only dubbed him as a militant but also claimed that they recovered an AK rifle along with four magazines and 67 rounds from the slain ‘militant’.

On January 8, 2009, a civilian, Abdul Rashid Rishi (45) of Pahalgam Anantnag, who the police claimed was deaf and dumb, was shot dead by Army guards when he allegedly intruded a high-security Army premises housing officers, a short distance away from the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s residence at Gupkar.

The Army had ordered a high-level probe into the incident, but they maintained that the man was killed when he scaled over the rear boundary wall of an Army unit on the Gupkar road.

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After the killing, the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who was personally monitoring the probe had said that those found guilty would be dealt in accordance with the law but till date neither enquiry was made public nor anyone was punished. A ‘murder’ case still stands registered at Police Station Ram Munshi Bagh Srinagar.

Similarly, during the intervening night of February 18 and 19 this year, a security guard shot dead an elderly man Syed Habibullah (55), a resident of Soibugh Budgam when he allegedly entered Budgam Air Force Station.

The killing sparked spontaneous shutdown and protests in Soibugh area while an FIR about the incident still stands registered at police station Humhama.

“Spot examination revealed that the individual of about 50-55 years of age who appears to be mentally challenged died in the incident. The person being identified is not wearing foot wears, is without proper winter clothing and has no identity card,” reads the First Information Report. (CNS)

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