Yesterday India Army rewarded a Major who tied a Kashmiri civilian to a jeep as a Human-Shield. It is despicable that the police/army officers responsible for serious human rights violations are receiving awards despite the crimes they have perpetrated. These awards are an act of celebrating tyranny and victimization.
HERE ARE SEVEN MORE TAINTED OFFICIALS AWARDED BY INDIA-
1 : Jagmohan Malhotra
In Kashmir, Jagmohan’s first political brush began in 1984, when he toppled Farooq Abdullah’s government. He then made a comeback on January 19, 1990 with a stern warning. And, what followed shortly became the dark chapter of Kashmir’s recent history. He was accused for facilitating Pandit migration from valley. On January 20, 1990, Kashmir witnessed Gawkadal massacre in which 52 people were killed. On January 25, 1990, 25 civilians were killed by BSF in Handwara. On March 1, 1990, 33 killed at Zakoora, Tengpora. On May 21, 1990, at least 50 people were killed as BSF fired on the funeral procession of Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq near Srinagar’s Islamia College.
Jagmohan was removed within a few months. Days before his removal, he said in a public interview: “Every Muslim in Kashmir is a militant today. All of them are for secession from India… The bullet is the only solution for Kashmir.”
Ironically, He was awarded Padma Vibhushan on the 25 anniversary of Handwara Massacre.
2: Ghulam Mohammad Mir aka Momma Kanna
Momma Kanna was a junior employee in the Forest Department earning a meagre Rs 300 a month before turning to indian army. His name was synonymous with extortion, rape, torture and extra-judicial killings across the Valley in the 90s. He has brushed shoulders with several prominent politicians, government officials and army and police top brass. Now bedridden, plagued with ailments and waiting for the inevitable death. He admits a direct hand in neutralising over 5000 ‘militants’. He was awarded a Padma Shri in 2010. His Magam residence is guarded by a company (100 personnel) of the paramilitary CRPF.
3: S M SAHAI
Back when Ex-IGP Kashmir, S. M. Sahai was a DSP, He was complicit in abduction, torture & killing of Lateef Khan (45) and Bashir Ahmed Khan (45), both the victims were from Uri. Lateef Khan was a shopkeeper and an ex-army man, he became a victim of enforced disappearance while Bashir Ahmed’s body was found on the banks of Jehlum a few days after his abduction. The police has closed the case despite evidence on record.
As per publicly available information, DSP S.M. Sahai was awarded the Director General of Police’s Commendation Medal for 1994, Police Medal for Gallantry in 2004, Sher-e-Kashmir Medal for Gallantry in 2007 and 2013, Sher-e-Kashmir Medal for Meritorious Service in 2011 and the Presidents Medal for Distinguished Service in 2011.
3: Hans Raj Parihar
Hans Raj Parihar, as a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) was named in the 1997 enforced disappearance of Fayaz Ahmad Beigh, a cameraman from University of Kashmir. In 2001, as a Superintendent of Police (SP), his name figures in the extra-judicial killing of Ashiq Hussain Akhoon. (That’s the same year he picked up the Commendation Medal). In 2006, now promoted to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Hans Raj Parihar was named in the extra-judicial killing of 2 Civilians. Abdul Rehman Padder, a carpenter who was lured by the offer of a well-paying job was killed in a fake encounter, and buried. Abdul Rehman was then invested with the identity of Abu Hafiz, a foreign militant, and financial rewards (Rs 1,30,000 each) were given to Parihar and his colleagues by S. M. Sahai. Kataria, a resident of Banihal in Jammu region, was also picked up and subsequently killed in a fake gunfight in October 2006. He was then passed off as Pakistan militant ‘Abu Zahid’ until DNA tests proved otherwise.
4: Altaf Ahmad Khan
SP Altaf Ahmad Khan, an accused in the 2004 brutal custodial rape and torture of a 16-year-old girl in Zachaldara, Kupwara, received the 2010 DGP’s Commendation Medal. In 2011, his name reappeared again in the custodial killing of a 20-year-old in Sopore, and later in a few more cases of torture and killings. Despite the notoriety, SP Altaf Ahmad Khan was given a gallantry award on India’s Republic Day in January 2012, and a President’s Police Award for Gallantry on Independence Day later that year. He has multiple accusations against him of human rights violations while he was posted in the Sopore area of Baramulla District.
In 2013, Authorities in Kashmir were considering deputing him in The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, the deputation was canceled after JKCCS intervened.
5: Farooq Khan
Khan is known for his leadership role in becoming the first head of the anti-militancy Task Force (also called Special Operations Group). During his career in the counter-insurgency, Khan was the most feared name in Srinagar. He specialized in interrogation. In 2005, He and his team killed 5 Kashmiri civilians (Pathribal Fake Encounter) and dubbed the victims as foreign militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Police said they were responsible for the killing of 35 Sikhs in Chattisinghpora.
The bodies were quickly buried without a post-mortem; Clothes and personal items were left burning near the burial site.Curiously, around the same time, seventeen Muslims had strangely gone missing from the villages around Chattisinghpora, some of them kidnapped by armed men before witnesses; Soon, the relatives of the missing men identified the half-burnt personal items at Panchalthan as belonging to their relatives. The relatives of the five murdered villagers held a series of demonstrations for public exhuming of the bodies; A crowd of five thousand unarmed civilians at Brakpora was fired upon by the police; Nine more men died.
When the bodies were finally exhumed, they were discovered to have been burnt and defaced, but curiously dressed in brand new army fatigues (Under their Uniforms, They were in ordinary civilian clothes) . They were identified by the relatives as the local villagers who went missing. Initial attempts in DNA testing of the exhumed bodies were compromised by fudging of the DNA samples in a cover-up attempt by Farooq Khan; The latest results indicated that the five persons killed by the Indian forces were indeed civilians.
Despite this case receiving media attention, Farooq Khan was awarded the Police Medal for Gallantry in 2003, Director General of Police‘s Commendation Medal for 2006, Sher-e-Kashmir Medal for Meritorious Service in 2012 and the Presidents Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 2012. He had earlier been awarded the Police Medal for Gallantry in 1998.
He retired ‘honourably’ from the services in 2013 and joined BJP.
6: Avtar Singh
Avtar Singh was a Major in Unit 35 of the Rashtriya Rifles and was posted in Srinagar in the 1990s where he was then known as ‘Bulbul’. Journalists from that time thought he was a ‘tyrant’ and ‘a man drunk with power’. Singh was involved in counterinsurgency operations and posted in Rawalpora. But, in the spring of 1996, Singh tortured and murdered Jaleel Andrabi, a rights activist.
Avatar Singh had married a Kashmiri Sikh woman from Jawahar Nagar locality in Srinagar. He would kill people on the request of his inlaws, personal animosities and to settle family scores. He killed a tailor Balbir Singh from Mahjoor Nagar in 1997 because the family owed debts. He also killed the lover of his sister in law, in cold blooded murder.
Avatar Singh was notorious for his torture techniques, an eyewitness remembers that at Palhallan Camp in 1997, he had brought a local teacher and shoved his torn undershirt into his mouth with a cane. The teacher died. He was also notorious for burning people alive in an iron tank inside the Shariefabad camp.
India instead of putting him to justice, helped and facilitated his escape to USA. Avatar Singh had received the President’s Award for bravery four times.
7: Kuldeep Khoda
Kuldeep Khoda’s name came up in a case of fake encounter of three civilians Fazal Hussain Dar, a senior inspector in Jammu Central Cooperative Bank, his son Fareed Ahmad, a student of 12th grade and Mohammad Hussain Lone. Mohammad Ashraf, an Ikhwani was identified as the man responsible for the fake killing. Two other police informers–Tanvir Hussain of Kokernag and Abdul Sattar of Anantnag were reportedly acting as associates of Ashraf. The threesome formed part of kidnapping and subsequent murder squad, as established by Bachan Singh Chowdary, a police officer in crime branch.
Apart from the threesome and driver Shadi Lal, two PSOs of Ashraf–Baldev Raj and Som Nath accompanied the party. The party took the police truck to Paranoo and Malani villages in Bhaderwah where they kidnapped four villagers. Later that night Ashraf and his associates stopped the truck near Prem Nagar by the Chenab and escorted the four villagers to the river. Three were shot dead; the fourth, Talib Hussain, was pushed into the river. He survived, swam ashore and exposed the entire story. The bodies of the three who were shot could not be retrieved.
Bachan Singh Choudhary was asked to investigate the suspicious killing after the complaint was lodged with National Human Rights Commission. The enquiry report links Ashraf to Kuldeep Khoda. By implication it meant that Khoda knew what was happening. The driver Shadi Lal was detailed by Khoda to carry the squad. And weapons (assault rifles) were provided to renegade Mohd. Ashraf and his two accomplices from police post Assar under the pretext of being members of Village Defence Committee (VDC).
Despite all this, Kuldeep Khoda was awarded the Presidents Medal for Distinguished Service in 1999, the Director General of Police’s Commendation Medal in 2001 and the Sher-e-Kashmir Medal for Meritorious Service in 2004. Earlier, he had received the Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 1993.
In the past 27 years several armed forces personnel and Jammu and Police officers notoriously known for human rights violations have received gallantry awards, which suggests the institutional endorsement of the crimes perpetrated by these men in uniform. This policy of awards and the perpetual impunity in Jammu and Kashmir shows the complete disregard of the Indian state towards the human, civil, political and democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
On the other hand those Police officers who have shown exemplary service towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir have either been dumped or reprimanded. The police officer who conducted the investigation on unmarked graves and mass graves in North Kashmir on the orders of SHRC was not encouraged. The Assistant Superintendent of Police, Bandipora after carrying out investigation regarding the fake encounter killings carried out by Army, was demoted and humiliated, which sent a message to other officers that performing their duty diligently is undesirable for the government.