Aashiq Hussain Akhoon [Abduction and Fake Encounter]
Occupation: Contractor, Kashmir Motor Drivers Association
Son of: Mohammad Yusuf Akhoon
Resident of: Ratharpora, Noorpora, Tral, Pulwama District [present address], Previously resident of Pinglish, Tral, Pulwama District.
1. Hans Raj Parihar, Deputy Superintendent of Police [DSP], Jammu and Kashmir Police
2. Inspector Narendra Singh Peshar, Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police [JKAP]
3. Constable Tariq Ahmad Chadro [Operational Name: Mushtaq], Special Operations Group [SOG], Jammu and Kashmir Police
4. Constable Fareed Khan, 1st Battalion, Indian Reserve Police [IRP]
5. Inspector Manjit Singh, 124th Battalion Border Security Force [BSF], D Company, Tral, Pulwama.
On 28 March 2001 the Aashiq Hussain Akhoon left for Tral, to the bank, to withdraw money as his family had purchased land in Bijbehara and the payment had to be made. After withdrawing money he headed towards Bijbehara. On the way Aashiq Hussain Akhoon was picked up by DSP Parihar and the Rs. 48,000 he had withdrawn was taken away. On 1 April 2001 at about 4:30 am, the family of the Aashiq Hussain Akhoon heard two gunshots and subsequently the police was informed about the body of Aashiq Hussain Akhoon, which was taken to the Tral Police Station. The family of Aashiq Hussain Akhoon states that his body had clear torture marks.
The family of Aashiq Hussain Akhoon gave a statement to the IPTK on 16 February 2012. First Information Report [FIR] no.25/2001 u/s 307 [Attempt to murder] and 7 [Prohibition of acquisition / possession / manufacture/sale of prohibited arms/ammunition]/27 [Punishment for possessing arms etc. with intent to use them for unlawful purpose] Arms Act, 1959 was led at the Tral Police Station on 1 April 2001. The 124th Battalion BSF in this FIR stated that the victim was killed in cross-fire between militants and armed forces. The BSF also showed a recovery of arms from the victim. The Superintendent of Police [SP], Awantipora, in a letter dated 11 July 2001 accepts this version of events that the victim was a militant and a chargesheet was produced in court against the deceased person on 19 June 2001. Further, the communication dated 15 May 2012 from the Jammu and Kashmir Police states that that there was an encounter between militants and security forces in Pinglish, Haffoo Nallah, during the night of 31 March 2001 and 1 April 2001 where a Hizbul Mujahideen militant Ashiq Hussain Shah, son of Mohammad Yousuf, resident of Pinglish got killed and huge quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered.
Chargesheet was led on 19 June 2001. The mother of Aashiq Hussain Akhoon filed a petition before the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir [Original Writ Petition (OWP) 164/2001]. Alleged perpetrators 2 to 5 were made parties to the petition. The motive of the killing of the victim was believed to be money that the victim was carrying. The petition sought the completion of investigations, sanction to prosecute the alleged perpetrators, presentation of findings of inquiry if conducted, and compensation. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir and police authorities responded before the High Court and stated that there were no employees by the names as listed for alleged perpetrators 2 to 4 with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. Further, that the victim was, as per the FIR, an active militant, and compensation could therefore not be granted.
Further, that no separate inquiry had been conducted.
The Union of India and Inspector Singh submitted before the High Court and denied all knowledge of the killing of the victim. On 26 September 2001, the High Court ordered that the victim’s family be provided the necessary security, based on apprehensions to their safety as submitted by them before the High Court. On 11 January 2004, the petition was dismissed in default of appearance. The State Human Rights Commission [SHRC] was also approached by the family of Aashiq Hussain Akhoon. The SHRC on 17 April 2001 directed the respondents to indicate whether ex-gratia government relief had been made and directed that exhumation and postmortem should be done. The final decision was given on 13 March 2002. Before the SHRC was a letter from the SP, Awantipora which confirmed the version of events as per the FIR and stated that a chargesheet was produced in court against the deceased person on 19 June 2001.
Station House Officer [SHO], Tral Police Station also submitted a letter dated 19 May 2001 which concluded similarly. The SHRC then allowed the family of Aashiq Hussain Akhoon to produce witnesses. Based on the witness testimonials, the SHRC concluded that Aashiq Hussain Akhoon was not a militant and had no connection to any militant organization. Rs.1,00,00 ex-gratia government relief and compassionate employment under SRO-43 [Statutory Rules and Orders] benets were recommended. The family of the victim received no relief/compensation despite a letter dated 17 March 2003 from the Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama stating that Rs.1,00,000 ex-gratia government relief was to be granted.
The faulty, and possibly prejudicial, investigations by the Jammu and Kashmir Police are highlighted by the SHRC decision which bases itself on witness testimonials to find that Aashiq Hussain Akhoon was not a militant. This conclusion of the SHRC raises serious questions on the investigations of the Jammu and Kashmir Police who appear to have conveniently accepted the version of the BSF rather than carry out fair investigations that might implicate fellow police personnel. Fair investigations would have included enquiries at the bank on details of money withdrawn by Aashiq Hussain Akhoon, and the subsequent trail of the money could have helped ascertain circumstances surrounding the killing of Aashiq Hussain Akhoon. Of particular significance in the case of alleged perpetrator Hans Raj Parihar is that he was implicated in another case prior to this one, referred to in this report, and yet he received, as per publicly available information, the Director General of Police’s Commendation Medal for 2001.
Source: Structures of Violence – JKCCS