Murder most foul! the custodial death of 27 year old sopore youth nazim rasheed shalla on 31st july this year awaits justice to the family of the unfortunate youth and also answers to us all.
nazim’s father, abdul rashid shalla is a retired police officer and his collegues of yester years came the other day to hand over the body of his son, barely a day after he had been picked up for interrogation.
versions might defer, but truth ultimately can have only one version. nazim had been picked up by the special operations group personell after families of two civilians killed by unknown gunmen in sopore town alleged nazim had identified the slain civilians to their assassins.
local media reports said during interrogation nazim had accepted his involvement in gunmen killings in the town. that of muhammad ashraf dar on 28 july and jana mir prior to that.
it is also rumored that the disclosures of the slain youth even identified the mastermind behind the civilian killings in sopore town, the man who used to order such executions. that is absolutely fine and the police is within its rights to take investigations to a logical conclusions.
but, there must end the long arm of law. same night, that is the night intervening 30th and 31st july, nazim died in the custody. it has also now been reported that nazim told his interrogators he had been suffering from neurological ailment for which he was being treated by the state’s best known neurologist dr. susheel razdan. this fact still needs a firmer confirmation.
if the youth had shown the prescription of the neurologist to his interrogators, they had an extra ordinary reason to be cautious while dealing with the subject’s interrogation.
there is no great deal about confusions made by the detainees in custody. unless those are recorded under section 161 of the criminal procedure code in the presence of a magistrate, such confusions are not worth even the piece of paper on which they are written.
custodial killings in kashmir are nothing new to the state of jammu nad kashmir, yet it must be said emphatically that as long as such gruesome murders are committed by those entrusted with the duty of securing our lives and property, the executive authority of the police would only be seen and feared as a lawless authority.
saprodic events of stone pelting and clashes between the security forces and the protesters have occurred with regular periodicity after the sopore custodial killings in many parts of the valley. the separatist leaders and those in the mainstream peoples democratic party have raised strong voices against the incident and demanded speedy justice.
why do such incidents happen with a sense of deja vu in kashmir? from pathribal to machil through sopore, handwara, bandipora, ganderbal, surankote, shopian and perhaps another half dozen places, families claim their wards were either killed in custody or killed after being framed.
a senior paramilitary official was removed from the valley in the mid 1990’s when it was learnt that he had invented a novel practice of using the enemy’s weapons to his personal advantage. the senior paramilitary officer’s practice was technically called staggering of weapons.
can staggering of weapons be done by an SPO and a Sepoy of the territorial army? yes, they identified the wrong persons, but who planted the weapons? unless these questions are answered , long arm of justice would continue to remain polio stricken as it has been during the last over two decades in jammu and Kashmir.
P.S. : this is a shortened version of an article which appeared in THE HONOUR magazine (SEPTEMBER 2011 ISSUE 9 VOLUME 4 PAGE NO.34-35) WRITTEN BY SHEIKH QAYOOM.