Custodial killings go unchecked in occupied Kashmir
Although the puppet Chief Minister Omar Abdullah pledged exemplary punishment for persons involved in the custodial death of Nazim Rashid, the history of inquires ordered since his administration took over in 2009 do not show any sign of justice to the victims. Nazim Rashid, 28, was killed in police custody in Sopore on July 30, 2011 after he was picked up by the personnel of Special Operations Group of Indian police and Army for questioning in connection with killing of a civilian by unidentified persons.
On July 31, Nazim’s father, Abdul Rashid Shalla, who has served in the occupied Kashmir’s police department as an inspector, learned about the death of his son in custody through media. He also came to know that authorities without informing him had carried out postmortem of his slain son. Talking to media men, Shalla said that he saw the body and there were visible marks of torture. “His body was swollen since they forcibly fed him buckets of water,” he said. His words were echoed by a government official, who was present at the time of postmortem. “The body was swollen and torture marks could be seen on it,” the official said, pleading anonymity. On August 10, 2011 statements of the medicos who conducted autopsy on the body of Shalla were recorded. The medicos reportedly confirmed torture marks on the victim’s body.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate Sopore, Muhammad Ahsan Mir, probing the custodial killing, recorded the statements of three medicos. “There were torture marks on his (Nazim’s) body and apparently it seemed that he died due to torture,” doctors told the inquiry officer.
Mir also visited Tarzoo Police Station to leave no room for any laxity in the investigation as Krankshivan Colony where from the deceased hailed falls in its jurisdiction. “It was necessary as far as investigation is concerned. He (inquiry officer) found there was no lock-up or place to confine people, which indicated that he died in the SOG camp,” media reports quoting sources said.
In the past, similar kind of incidents in occupied Kashmir were always hushed up by the puppet regimes, but it was a ‘strange’ and ‘pleasant’ surprise that the puppet Chief Minister admitted that it was an inexcusable human rights violation and claimed to punish the perpetrators. His directives to the local administration for not sparing the guilty have given this case very importance and people are looking the killing as a litmus test for the Omar Abdullah regime. They definitely want to know as how far the writ of the present regime runs in the law enforcing agencies. Killing of Nazim Rashid in police custody once again highlighted the bitter reality that custodial killings are still taking place in occupied Kashmir. It is all happening at a time when the situation is far better and people tend to staging peaceful protests to show their aggression against such incidents. Custodial killings had been a norm at a time when the struggle for freedom from Indian occupation was intensified during 1990s, but such killings when Kashmiris have been utilizing peaceful means to secure their inalienable right to self-determination are nothing but an uncalled for provocation from the authorities.—KMS