File on army custody death goes ‘missing’
THEY FOUGHT a legal battle for years in a quest to get justice for Mohammad Abdullah, who was killed while in army custody in Kashmir in 1994. Now, Abdullah’s family members are fighting another battle to locate his case file, which has reportedly gone missing.
“After years of investigation, it was proved legally that an army officer killed my father in the custody. But the case file has now gone missing in high court,” said Abdullah’s son Abdul Hamid Mir.
According to his family members, Abdullah was picked up from his native Regipora village in Kupwara in North Kashmir on March 22, 1994. “He was tortured and killed in custody,” said Mir.
After the family filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, the court asked the district judge of Kupwara to monitor the investigation. The final report in the case, filed by the principal district and session judge of Kupwara in June 2011, found an army major liable for the death, to be tried for the offence under Section 302 (murder) and Section 344 (wrongful confinement)of the Ranbir Penal Code. The case was then referred to the high court for “consideration”.
“The investigation in the case has been completed. Major Depenkar Sahai, who was then posted in the camp of the 16 Raj Rifles in Gulgam has been found liable to be tried for the offence under sections 302 and 344 of the Ranbir Penal Code,” says the report sent by the principal district and sessions judge of Kupwara, to the registrar judicial of the high court. “However, before launching of prosecution against the army official, police has applied for the sanction in terms of section 6 of Armed Force (Special Powers) Act”.
Mir alleged that when the family approached the J&K High Court, the officials there denied having received any file related to the case. “We have been following this case for 20 years, and now the file is missing,” he said.
The registrar judicial of the high court, Mohammed Yousuf Wani, told The Indian Express that the family can approach his office and make a representation about the case. “Let the family approach my office about the case with an application. We will try to locate the file and look into it,” said Wani.
In spite of the missing file, the family is holding on to hope. “The Constitution says people involved in any crime should be punished and we are hopeful that my father’s killers will be punished,” said Mir.
Source:: Indian Express