Civilian deaths: CRPF appeal for documentary evidence rejected

Civilian deaths: CRPF appeal for documentary evidence rejected

"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.