A local court in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bhaderwah has acquitted over half-a-dozen people, including “encounter specialist” sub inspector Shiv Kumar of the charges of encouraging youths to join militant ranks and then killing them for rewards.
“This is a case in which the police cited as many as 93 witnesses to establish various charges against the accused persons. Surprisingly, majority of the witnesses, including some police personnel and respectable people of the locality, have turned hostile, alleging that they were tortured, threatened and detained to make statements against the accused during the course of investigations,’’ said principal sessions judge M K Sharma as 15 important prosecution witnesses turned hostile.
“This is a dangerous trend. …the power of the police to arrest a person or launch prosecution has to be exercised judiciously and not at the whims and fancies and arbitrarily. The creation of evidence under threat or coercion will have serious fallout.” He said that it shall not be proper at this stage to issue notices of perjury to the witnesses, who made contradictory statements during the trial. “I leave it to the discretion of the district police chief to first hold a preliminary inquiry and if warranted launch prosecution for perjury.’’
Kumar was credited with killing 68 militants in the Chenab Valley region. He was accused of giving one Abdul Rashid a bag containing a pistol, an AK 56 rifle, ammunition and three Chinese grenades. Rashid in turn allegedly gave the arms to Mohammad Rafi, Akhtar Hussain, Shahbaz and Muzaffer. Five days thereafter, Rashid asked Altaf to throw grenades on the cavalcade of chief secretary, who was returning from Kishtwar, or on the group of a people or on Thathri police station. Altaf threw the grenade at the police station on April 27, 2013, which did not explode. During investigation, Rafi was arrested and spilled the beans.