CBI and its Investigation Process in Kashmir
There is a huge outcry from the supporters of BJP/RSS that Kathua rape case should be handed to Central Bureau of Investigation (Hereafter CBI) rather than crime branch. Obviously, CBI is an investigating agency rather than crime branch, but the question is what is wrong with crime branch. The report is the history of CBI investigation in Kashmir and all investigation that CBI had done went in favour of the accused. BJP Minister Chowdhary lal Singh led a rally from Jammu to Kathua after his resignation from the cabinet and demanded that the case should be transferred to CBI for further Investigation. The CBI is operating under the jurisdiction of the ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, headed by Cabinet Minister who reports to the Prime Minister. The agency investigates several economic crimes, special crimes, corruption cases and other high profile cases. The Supreme Court as well as High Court can assign the cases to CBI for further investigation on the basis of petition filed by aggrieved parties. In 1987, the CBI was divided into two sections: the Anti-Corruption Division and the Special Crimes Division. In the Kashmir Valley, the CBI had investigated the five cases from the last 28 years. Here is the chronology of these cases:
Killing of four Indian Air Force Officers in 1990:
4 IAF officers were killed and 9 were injured on the outskirts of Srinagar on 25th January 1990. According to the report published in New York Times by Sanjoy Hazarika that militants, who had hired a car started indiscriminate firing at a group of Air Force personnel’s, who were waiting for a ride to their air base in which four were killed on spot including squadron leader. The gunmen escaped from the site. Curfew was imposed for some days and police started investigating the matter. However, the case was referred to CBI for further investigation. From 28 years, the case is with CBI.
Pathribal Fake Encounter 2003
In March 2002, three days before the visit of US president Bill Clinton’s, a massacred occurred in a village of Anantnag Kashmir known as Chattisinghpora. In this Massacre around 35 Sikhs were shot dead. According to eye witnesses, 15-20 attackers appeared in the uniform of Indian Army and fired indiscriminately on the villagers, who were told to come out from their homes. In the initial investigation, the Indian government asserted that the massacre was carried out by the Pakistani-sponsored militant organization Lashkar-i-Toiba. On 25th march 2002, the Indian army claimed that they have five militants, who were affiliated with the massacre. However, during the same period, five person were suddenly disappeared that led to the suspicion that militants killed were actually the innocent person who had gone missing. The Jammu and Kashmir Government ordered exhumation of the militants killed in Pathribal. The DNA test was to all five killed persons and it was confirmed that they were innocent civilians who were taken by army into custody and later on blamed as Pakistani militants. On April 6 and 7, the dead bodies were handed to their family members and the case was handed over to CBI for further investigation on February 14, 2003. There was tremendous pressure on army to show result after the Chattisinghpora massacre and in order to tackle the pressure, the Indian army managed the fake encounter. A charge sheet was filed by CBI on May 9, 2006 in which 7 army personnel’s of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) were held responsible for the Pathribal fake encounter. The charge sheet included the names of Brigadier Ajay Sexena, Lt Col Brajendra Pratap Singh, Major Sourabh Sharma, Major AmitSaxena and SubedarIdrees Khan. However from 16 years, no justice was provided for the victims of Chattisinghpora massacre as well as to the victims of Pathribal fake encounter. However on May 1, 2012, the army moved to Supreme Court after failing to reprieve from a local Srinagar court. The apex court gave army the time of eight week to decide whether to decide the hearings by Court martial proceedings or by regular criminal courts. The army decided the court martial and on 20th January 2014 after conducting the summary of evidences, the charge sheet against the accused were dismissed on July 27, 2016.The families of victims filed the same writ in the Supreme Court on August 2017 in which a SC issued a notice to Government of India, army and the CBI.
Srinagar Sex Scandal 2006
The Srinagar Sex scandal that occurred in 2006 has shaken the Kashmir. A girl namely Sabeena from a remote village Ijhara (uri) was married to Abdul Hamid Bhulla in the locality of down town Srinagar. Sabeena and his associate Riyaz Ahmad Langoo had developed a sex ring abuse in the locality. According to sources, Sabeena had good relation with police, security agencies and politicians. She started supplying girls (teenagers) to police, army officers as well as to politicians including former DSP Srinagar Muhammad Yousuf Mir and Shabir Ahmad Laway. The case went to CBI after the names of two J&K ministers, MLA’s and other influential men emerged and 14 accused persons were charged under various sections of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) including section 376 for rape of a teenager girl. The other charges include procurement of girls, intimidation of witness and wrongful confinement. The trial of the case was transferred from Jammu and Kashmir to Chandigarh. All the accused were let out in 2012 while giving them a “benefit of doubt” in the judgement. The CBI failed to provide justice to the victims from last 12 years.
Mehran Lateef Disappearance Case 2008
Mehran, a four year old boy of Habbakadal (Srinagar) went missing in 2008. According to his mother, that on 13th may 2008, Mehran Lateef stepped out from his home to buy sweets from a local shop, but did not return back. The J&K police failed to find him and after the hue cry, the High court of Srinagar transferred the case to CBI on 29th November 2013. CBI announced a big reward for the person giving information about the boy and several posters were pasted, but the process yield nothing. Later on, CBI closed the case as untraced and filed a report before the court.
Shopian Rape and Murder Case 2009
On May 30, the apple town of the valley was shattered as the news spread about the rape and murder of two young women. The lifeless bodies of Aasiya (17) and her sister-in-law (22) were discovered near the River (RambiAara). On 29th may, both of these went to their garden, but did not returned back. Later on, Neelofar’s Husband and brother of Aasiya Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar along with some friends and neighbours went in search, but failed to find their clue. After that, they went to the local police station to make an FIR. However, in the morning police rang to Shakeel to identify the dead bodies. Soon after the news broke out, the whole town started protesting against their brutal rape and murder. On the orders of district magistrate, a three member team of doctors was called from nearby town Pulwama to conduct the autopsy. The team confirmed that both the victims have been raped. Samples were send to Forensic Science Laboratory Srinagar, which also confirmed the rape and murder. However, police and administration rejected the reports which caused tension in the town. Kashmir valley started demonstrations for the justice of Aasiya and Neelofar and compelled the J&K Government headed by Omar Abdullah to appoint a one-man enquiry commission headed by retire Justice Muzaffar Jan to further probe the case. The initial investigation held responsible some police officers for mishandling and demanded action against them. However, after 4 months, the case was handed to CBI on May 9, 2009. The CBI instead of file charge sheet against the accused named six doctors, five lawyers and two civilians for fabricating evidence to demonstrate the two women had been raped before being killed. The CBI report states that the death of these two women happened due to drowning. While as the river was not having enough water during that period. From past 8 years, the family of the victims are still waiting for the justice.
Similarly, the supporters of Kathua also demanded the CBI inquiry along with Narco test, so that the accused would be released soon and the case against them should be closed on the judgement of “lack of evidences”.