HC dismisses petition seeking probe into Shopian ‘staged encounter’
Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Monday dismissed a petition by a civil society group against government of India (GoI) asking for an investigation into the stage managed encounter killing of three innocent civilians by army on 18th of July this year in a south Kashmir. The slain non combatants were passed off as “terrorists” by the army.
The Chief Justice (Acting) Rajesh Bindal and Justice Puneet Gupta, rejected the Public interest Litigation filed by J&K Reconciliation Front through advocate Salih Peerzada.
The petitioner prayed that GoI be directed to register a case to investigate the matter in terms of law and as per the guidelines formulated under Article 141 in People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. State of Maharashtra (2014) 10 SCC 635.
“The investigation initiated by J&K Police related to the Shopian Fake Encounter of 18.07.2020 involving the victims namely Ibrar Ahmad (16), Mohammed Ibrar (21) and lmtiaz Ahmad (26) residents of District Rajori, J&K, may be quashed as being illegal and in contravention to the law laid down in Extra Judicial Execution Victims Families Association v. Union of India (2017) 3 SCC (Cri) 622”, prayed the petitioner.
It sought for a direction to register FIR to investigate the matter in terms of law and that the investigation be entrusted to a Special Investigating Team (SIT) constituting members other than the personnel from J&K Police and monitored by court.
“The GoI be directed to constitute a High Powered Committee to analyze the aspect of criminalizing Custodial Killings and Fake Encounters in Kashmir by way of a special legislation”, requested the petitioner.
It said that there was blatant violation of the human rights in the fake encounter where three laborers were killed in cold blood. “However, the encounter was found to be fake. This was even admitted by the Armed Forces”, it said.
The petitioner also referred to the scrapping of the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir in August and its bifurcation into two centrally administered units.
It said that Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission has ceased to exist after reorganization and presently, there is no constitutional body to look in to the human rights violations in Kashmir.
- M. Shamshi, the assistant solicitor general of India argued that the petitioner has no authorization to raise the issue and that the parents of the slain have already filed writ petition in the court.
Aggrieved Kashmiri’s can always approach the National Human Rights Commission of India located in its capital city of New Delhi, he said.
The Judges after hearing the lawyers appreciated the arguments put forward by the lawyer representing the government and said a separate petition filed by the petitioner claiming to be in public interest cannot be entertained.