Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Muzamil Jaleel : New Delhi, Sun Jul 07 2013, IE
FPHabibullah was posted in J&K then
Wajahat Habibullah, chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, has said that the government “deleted important portions of his confidential report” on the Konanposhpora mass rape case in which he had recommended a police probe, upgradation in the level of investigation, entrusting the case to a gazetted police officer and seeking an order from the 15 Corps Commander to ensure Army cooperation in the probe.Habibullah was Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir when troops of 4 Raj Rifles allegedly raped 23 women in the village during a cordon-and-search operation on the night of February 23-24, 1991. The government used his report to give a clean chit to the Army.

More than two decades later, the mass rape case reared its head again last month after a Judicial Magistrate in Kupwara refused to entertain a police case closure report and ordered “further investigation by an officer not below the rank of a Senior Superintendent of Police” and its completion within three months.

“The Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara had received reports from the villagers of Konan that a mass rape had been committed in the village on the night of 23/24 February during cordon-and-search operations conducted by elements of the 4 Raj Rifles. He (Deputy Commissioner) had visited the spot on 5th March and according to his preliminary investigations, it appeared to him prima facie that an offence of monstrous proportions had been committed,” Habibullah’s confidential report stated.

“Consequently, on being approached by the DG, Police, J&K, the Corps Commander deputed Brigadier H K Sharma, Commander 19 Arty Brigade, to visit the village and report. The Brigadier made some local enquiries on 10/3 and came to the conclusion that the report (of mass rape) was baseless. His report does not, however, discuss in detail why he has altogether dismissed the statements made before him by a number of village women,” the report stated.

Habibullah said he visited the village on March 18, 1991, accompanied by Lt Col Naeem Farooqi, Commandant of the 76 Battalion of BSF Tyagi, the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police.

“I found the allegations of mass rape exaggerated because the women of the entire village were saying they were raped. But I didn’t say nothing has happened. I thought perhaps the entire village had decided to say they were raped so that the victims do not have to live alone with this blot,” Habibullah told The Sunday Express.

“The paragraphs of my confidential report where I had recommended that the level of investigation be upgraded to that of a gazetted police officer so that this case is probed efficiently were taken out of my report. I had also asked that the Corps Commander should issue orders to ensure that the Army cooperates with the investigation because SP Kupwara had indicated that in other cases, he was not getting the required cooperation for investigation from the Army. That paragraph was also deleted.”

Habibullah said he had also recommended several measures that the Army needed to take during operations.

“When the report came out in the public, I did protest. I called up the Governor (G C Saxena). But I was already posted out of Kashmir by then,” he said.

But Habibullah’s explanation has not gone down well with human rights groups pursuing the case in Kashmir who question his role.

“His silence of 22 years makes him culpable of the cover-up. The contents of his report that were made public earlier prove he was actively trying to obfuscate the truth,” Khurram Parvez of the Coalition of Civil Society said. “He has always been pretending to be sympathetic to the victims of human rights atrocities in Kashmir. This report shows how he himself was hand in glove with the perpetrators while holding an important position in the administration in Kashmir”.

Habibullah’s confidential report is controversial because he said the veracity of the complaint was “highly doubtful” though the Deputy Commissioner and Station House Officer concluded that mass rape had taken place.

 

AHMED ALI FAYYAZ, The Hindu

Responding to the public pressure, an Army court on Saturday decided to shift its centre of recording the statements of witnesses in the Pathribal carnage from Nagrota in Jammu to Awantipore in Kashmir valley. The court is holding trial on a chargesheet as the CBI has held a group of the Army officials guilty of killing five civilians in a fake encounter in Anantnag district in March 2000.

Even as the civilian witnesses had declined to travel to the headquarters of 16 Corps at Nagrota, the court had continued its initial proceedings in Jammu. It has finally relented to the extent of facilitating the recording of the evidences at headquarters of Victor Force at Awantipore in south Kashmir.

“Upholding the principles of justice, in a significant endeavour to facilitate timely conclusion of the case, the officer recording Summary of Evidence has been directed to move to Awantipur for recording the statements of the remaining witnesses,” an Army spokesperson said in a handout. He said that fresh summons had been issued to all the witnesses, including the family members of the five persons killed in the controversial shootout.

“Statements of 26 witnesses, including all the Army witnesses and some police as well as government officials, have been recorded so far. However, despite repeated summons issued to the civilian witnesses, they have not come forward to depose before the Army court, which is unduly delaying the judicial process”, said the handout. Recording of statements would commence from March 5.

On the night intervening March 20 and 21 in 2000, 35 male members of the Sikh community were massacred outside a Gurudwara at Chittisinghpura in Anantnag district. Four days later, officials of Rashtriya Rifles 7th battalion claimed to have killed “five foreign mercenaries” holding them responsible for the massacre. Soon, the residents of different villages developed suspicions with regard to the Army’s claim. They held demonstrations, asking the authorities to trace out the five civilians, who had been picked up in late night raids by different units of the armed forces.

As the residents’ demand grew louder with the death of seven demonstrators in firing by the men of Special Operations Group of Anantnag district police, a special investigation was ordered and all the five bodies were exhumed under magisterial supervision. Fudging of some tissue samples in a Forensic Science laboratory led to a fresh pandemonium. Finally, the investigation was assigned to the CBI.

In 2006, CBI completed its investigation and produced challan in a designated court in Srinagar. It found five Army officials responsible for stage-managing a fake encounter and claimed that the five innocent civilians had been killed so as to project them as the militants responsible for the Sikhs’ massacre.

Brig. Ajay Saxena, Lt. Col. Brajendra Pratap Singh, Maj. Sourabh Sharma, Maj. Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan were charged by the CBI with the murder of the five civilians.

However, Army put up resistance, claiming that the courts could not hold the trial without proper sanction from the government of India, as the Army in Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special powers and immunity against such prosecutions. The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir stayed the proceedings in 2007.

The CBI pleaded that it was a “cold-blooded murder” of innocent civilians and the armed forces’ special powers and immunity were restricted only to the genuine counter-insurgency operations. The Supreme Court did not agree with the CBI but directed the Army to either hold the trial in its own court or choose the option of a civil court. On September 20, 2012, Lt. Gen. A.S. Nandal, who is also GOC of 16 Corps, started hearing the CBI case after the matter was shifted from the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar to the Army court.

On January 14, 2013, the General Court Marshal asked the family members of the five deceased persons to depose at Nagrota on January 28 but they refused to travel to Jammu and expressed security concerns. Finally, the Army court decided to record rest of the witnesses’ statements in the Valley.

 

Mir Ehsan , RIFFAT MOHIDIN : Sat Feb 02 2013, 03:12 hrs, IE
FP

They called their band ‘Pragaash’ — to mean from darkness to light. Kashmir‘s first all-girl rock group is now struggling to find some of that hope. Following threats and criticism on social networking sites, its three Class 10 members have decided to stop live performances in the Valley for some time.

Farah Deeba, Aneka Khalid and Noma Nazir started receiving the threats soon after Pragaash’s first live performance, at Srinagar‘s Battle of the Bands — an annual music festival — in December last year. They had been written about following the performance, and their interviews appeared on news channels.

Since then, Pragaash had held several live shows in the city.

“As a section of the society criticised the girls after their first live performance in the city, we told them to quit the band,” Deeba’s mother said.

“We will stay quiet for some time as we were threatened by people on Facebook and on the phone directing us to stop this band, or to face the consequences,” Nazir said.

Khalid said they would continue to pursue music though, while giving up live performances.

Incidentally, none of these threats has come from any militant organisation.

It was in August last year that Deeba, Khalid and Nazir met at a local music institute, Band Inn, and soon joined hands to form Pragaash. While Nazir, 16, is the vocalist and guitarist, 15-year-old Khalid is the bass guitarist and Deeba, also 15, the drummer.

After the Battle of the Bands, where they competed against dozens of male bands, the three had said their families supported their unusual vocation. Pragaash had come in third at the contest, and had received invitations to perform in several parts of the country.

Among the criticism dumped on the girls on a Facebook page named ‘Kashmir News’ was that they had brought shame upon their society.

However, the girls continue to have supporters. There is now another Facebook page — ‘I support Pragaash — Kashmir’s First All-Girls Rock Band’.