SHRC demands factual report on Pulwama civilian killings
Srinagar, Dec 17: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Monday directed the authorities to file “factual report” into the killings of seven civilians in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district past Saturday.
On Saturday, seven civilians, including two minors were killed, when government forces opened fire on protesters following a gunfight that left three militants and an army-man dead in Sirnoo village of Pulwama.
Acting on a complaint filed by rights activist Ahsan Untoo into the killings, the SHRC served a notice along with copy of complaint to Commissioner Secretary Home Department, DGP JK, DC Pulwama and SSP Pulwama “for submitting the factual detailed report in the matter by or before the next date of hearing”.
Referring to recent incident of Bulandshar—where protestors had killed an on-duty police officer, the petitioner has alleged that government forces opened fire on protestors in Pulwama “with an intention to kill” – something he said is not done elsewhere in India.
“…the police and forces personnel fired above the waist and all the civilians killed got fire arm marks above their waist and four civilians, who are presently battling for life are having fire arm injuries on different parts of their body that too are above the waist,” he said, adding this “clearly indicates the intention of the forces to kill the protestors.”
He said there are other means to disperse the protestors peacefully which is applied by the forces in other parts of the India. “For example, the recent episode of Bulandshar wherein protestors killed the police officer but no force was used against the protestors”.
The complainant has also stated that he “was informed by the local people about the situation. People narrated the terrible ordeal how forces used the force against the innocent civilians without any provocation and forces personnel fire(d) indiscriminately, some people ran for cover but seven people got killed on spot, many got injured and four are battling for life presently”.
In his petition, Untoo also alleged that the forces’ personnel entered into the houses and damaged the properties of civilians after the gunfight was over.
The protesters, he said, were “seeking justice against the harassment and beating of common people which infuriated the police and forces’ personnel and they started indiscriminate firing on the civilians.”
Untoo said that appropriate steps need to be taken immediately. “Otherwise it will cause huge damage to the civil population of the Jammu and Kashmir, particularly Kashmir valley,” he said.
The petitioner has also urged the SHRC to constitute an independent team for investigation into the incident.