Indian Army killed a civilian in custody: Human rights commission

Indian Army killed a civilian in custody: Human rights commission
Saturday, 18 June 2011: In Srinagar, the Human Rights Commission has indicted Indian Army for the custodial killing of a civilian and later claiming him as a militant in Handwara tehsil of the Kupwara district seventeen years ago.

In a Judgement passed on March, 7, 2011,Chairperson of the commission, Justice (Retd) M Y Kawoosa observed “Troopers of 14th Punjab Dogra Regiment took Surya Chichi for interrogation where he died in custody due to torture on 8th August, 1994.”

The petition by Dulla Chichi, father of Surya Chichi, was submitted before the human rights commission on December, 10, 2009.

In his complaint, Dulla had charged 14th Punjab Dogra Regiment of the Army with custodial killing of his son and then framing it as an encounter. Dulla had said that even though he filed report in police station Panzla on September, 7, 1994, ‘police did not take any action in the matter.’

Surya was a farmer by profession and was the sole bread winner of the family. He is survived by four children, who are now living under penury.

After receiving the complaint, the commission asked Director General of Police J&K and the Deputy Commissioner Kupwara for reports into the custodial killing.

While DGP forwarded a concise report (CID/HR/SHRC-18/10 dated February, 22, 2010) prepared by the CID Headquarters, 'the DC Kupwara did not respond to any of the communications addressed to him in this regard'.

Police reports have confirmed that in 1994, 14th Punjab Dogra Regiment of the Indian Army arrested Surya Chichi for questioning, who died during interrogation at their camp.

“The Army men, in order to conceal their crime, took Surya’s body to Shiltra village in the night and fired upon it. An FIR was lodged on 10th August 1994, by the Army, claiming that Surya was a militant and described that he was killed in an encounter,” the commission judgment says.

Justice Kawoosa said that the police brought the crime to light, however; he criticized the role of the station police officer (SHO), Shiltran in dealing with the case.

The station police officer SHO had readily registered the false FIR lodged by the Army troopers but had refused to lodge a counter complaint by Dulla.

“Being a public servant and that too in uniform, the due discharge of official duty demanded that he ought to have registered a counter FIR and then investigated the case fairly,” Kawoosa says in the judgement.

Castigating the SHO for dereliction of duties, Kawoosa recommended initiation of relevant actions against the SHO by the DGP. He also called for an investigation into the case under Sec. 173(8) of Cr PC (Criminal Procedure Code).

“He should have identified the actual culprit(s) and should have sought sanction for prosecution from the concerned authorities,” he asserted.

Chairperson of the commission, Justice (Retd) M Y Kawoosa has directed the authorities to pay an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh and a job under SRO 43 to one of the eligible family members of the slain man Surya Chichi of Shiltra, Langate in Handwara. Agencies