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Civilian deaths: CRPF appeal for documentary evidence rejected

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 23:52

Jammu: A judicial commission, appointed by
the Jammu and Kashmir government to probe 17 civilian deaths
during the violent protests in the Kashmir Valley between June
11 to July 19 last year, has rejected the plea of CRPF seeking
documentary evidence against its officials.

"Our plea to seek documentary evidence against the
officials of CRPF in connection with cases of killings was
rejected by the COI. Commission told us that it could be seen
only there, but can`t be handed over to them," B S Salathia,
Counsel for CRPF, told reporters here.

Salathia along with lawyers had moved to Commission of
Inquiry (COI) first on December 30 last year, and then on
January 8, seeking documentary evidence, records and complaint
papers against CRPF jawans in connection with civilian
killings during the Kashmir agitation.

"How can we contest our case without evidence. We want
details documentary evidence to contest the case against CRPF
officials. How can one deny such an information, which is
basic of preparing defence?" Salathia asked.

While rejecting the CRPF plea for grant of documentary
evidence for the second time, the Commission headed by
Chairman of State Human Rights Commission, Justice (retd)
Bashir-ud-Din yesterday allowed the counsel B S Slathia and
CRPF to inspect the record in Commission`s office and also set
January 24 as next date of hearing.

"It is difficult to record the documents for CRPF as most
of the record is in Urdu. The Commission did not even want us
to take photostat copies of it," Salathia, who is also
President of Jammu Bar Association (JBA), said.

On December 30, the CRPF plea to grant evidence was also
rejected when the Commission had asked the former to approach
the Chief Prosecuting officer of state government, who
provided only two status reports by SPs of Baramulla and
Sopore.

The Commission had issued a notice to IG CRPF
(Operations) on December 21, stating that prima facie a number
of CRPF officials have been found guilty for killing of
innocent civilians in the Kashmir Valley last summer.

There were over 110 killings in firings allegedly by
police and security forces during the 4-month long unrest in
the Kashmir Valley.

The commission was appointed by the state government on
July 27, 2010 on the recommendations of the all-party meeting
convened by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The terms of reference of the Commission include to
enquire into circumstances leading to deaths by firing or
otherwise into the 17 incidents, fixing responsibility
wherever excessive force was used resulting in fatalities,
suggest measures to stop such incidents in future and
recommend punishment to those found guilty.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 23:52
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