From Abdul Rahman To Abu Hafiz : Story Of A Fake Encounter

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The family of Abdul Rehman Padder says that on 8 December 2006, he called his sister at about 9:00 am and informed her that following his noon prayers at the Hazratbal shrine he would meet Farooq Ahmad Padder at his rented residence in Chitrashahi, Batamaloo, regarding a job opportunity for which he had paid Rs.75,000. He also said that he would call once again at 2:00 pm. When he did not call at the promised time, the family grew worried and began their search for him.

They contacted Farooq Ahmad Padder and inquired about Rehman, Farooq assisted them by going with them to a certain number of places. On 14 December 2006, on the suggestion of Farooq, the family approached the Batamaloo Police Station and filed a missing report. Following investigations, the family learnt that Farooq Ahmad Padder himself had been responsible for the abduction and had been rewarded Rs. 1,20,000 for his role in the abduction.

The body of Abdur Rehman Padder, killed in a fake encounter, being exhumed.

Subsequently, in January 2007, Rehman’s body was exhumed from a graveyard in Sumbal, Bandipora District. He had been killed in a fake encounter, buried and given the false identity of Abu Hafiz, a foreign militant. Following the arrest of Farooq Padder, Rehman’s family began receiving threats and intimidation from his family.

First Information Report [FIR] no. 133/2006 filed at the Ganderbal Police Station on 9 December 2006 wherein the deceased Abu Hafiz, a resident of Multan, Pakistan, was shown to have been killed in an encounter.

The 9 July 2012 communication from the Jammu and Kashmir Police states that investigations were carried out by the then Superintendent of Police [SP] South, Srinagar and were closed as not admitted. The closure report confirms that the case is closed and a reference is made to the ongoing proceedings in FIR no. 6/2007. Following a missing report filed in the Batamaloo Police Station, FIR no. 6/2007 was filed at the same Police Station on 23 January 2007 regarding the abduction and a Special Investigation Team was constituted to investigate the case.

On 8 March 2007, a charge sheet against the alleged perpetrators was submitted before the Senior District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar. SSP Hans Raj Parihar (also accused of picking up many other civilians, murdering them in staged gunfights and passing them off as militants for money and awards) and DSP Bahadur Ram Kaith filed criminal transfer applications before the High Court, Jammu and Kashmir, seeking that the trial be transferred out of Kashmir, to Jammu or any other jurisdiction. The reasons provided were lack of legal assistance in Kashmir and the prejudicial atmosphere in Kashmir against them. On 25 April 2007 the applications were not granted and were dismissed.

Rehman’s family received ex-gratia government relief of Rs. 1,00,000. The SSP, Anantnag, conducted a verification of the victim and found on 3 January 2007 that he was not involved in any militant or subversive activities and there was nothing adverse on record against him. A similar report was submitted by the SSP, Srinagar on 28 April 2007.

The Justice [retired] M.L.Koul commission was constituted to enquire into the case, along with others, in 2007, but was shut down in 2008 with no conclusion.

Abdul Rehman Padder’s father praying at his son’s grave.

The Special Investigation Team based its investigations on the tracking of the cell phone used by Rehman [through the IMEI number] and witness statements collected. The main findings by the Special Investigation Team are as follows : –

On 6 December 2006, Hans Raj Parihar (SSP), Bahadur Ram Kaith (DSP), Farooq Ahmad Gudoo (ASI) and Farooq Ahmad Padder (Informer) held a meeting at the official residence of Hans Raj at the SOG Camp, Ganderbal. Hans Raj paid some amount of money to Farooq. Following this payment of money to Farooq, Gudoo was in continuous contact with him until 8 December 2006.

Farooq contacted Rehman from 6 December 2006 to 8 December 2006 and arranged for his presence at Batamaloo, Srinagar. – On the afternoon of 8 December 2006, Bansi Lal (PSO) instructed Manzoor Ahmad Malik (SOG) to pick up Rehman who was walking along with Farooq. He was taken to the SOG Camp, Sumbal.

On 8 December 2006 at about 8:00 pm, Gudoo directed his men at SOG Camp Sumbal to be prepared for an operation. Rehman was made to wear a “Khan dress and a Pheran”. His hands were tied. A pouch carrying magazines and a diary purportedly written by him were also tied around his waist. He was then taken to village Waksoora, Ganderbal and made to stand in an orchard. At about 11:00 pm Rehman was shot by Manzoor Ahmad.

Manzoor, on finding the face of the victim not disfigured, and identifiable, instructed his junior, Zaheer Abass Choudhary to open fire on the face of the victim. The instructions were carried out.

At 11:10 pm, following the killing, an AK-series weapon along with a grenade and wireless set were brought from the SOG Camp, Ganderbal and kept beside the body to show that he was a Pakistani terrorist. – On 9 December 2006 at about 3:00 am the body was taken to the SOG Camp Sumbal and kept there till the morning.

On 9 December 2006, at Ganderbal Police Station Rehman was presented as Abu Hafiz, resident of Multan, Pakistan, who had been killed in an encounter. – A cash reward of Rs. 1,00,000 was paid to the encounter party.

On 1 February 2007, Rehman’s was exhumed. DNA experts from CFSL, Chandigarh submitted their opinion that the body was that of Abdul Rehman Padder. – The ammunition of the AK-Series shown to have been recovered from the alleged Pakistani terrorist was found to bear the same number as that of the ammunition issued to the SOG Sumbal Camp.

– The seven ‘security’ officials were arrested. Based on the above findings the Special Investigation Team concluded that Rehman was killed for “appreciation, cash rewards, besides retaining their posting at lucrative places”. Further, it was found that Farooq had assisted the family only for the purposes of escaping criminal liability and gaining sympathy.

Shockingly, Hans Raj Parihar was already implicated in other cases of Human Rights violations and yet had received The Director General of Police’s Commendation Medal for 2001.

Source: JKCCS – Structures of Violence 

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