Come Clean On Shopian

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has admitted that the government made mistakes in the handling of Shopian twin rape and murder case. It is welcome that Omar offered his apologies to people for those mistakes. The irony, however, is the apology comes a few days after the New Delhi based Central Forensic Science Laboratory reported that the vaginal swabs of the two women sent for examination are fudged. In other words they do not belong to the two victims.
The disclosure of the latest fraud means the only piece of credible evidence on which the whole case could be built, or hoped to be solved, is lost. The Shopian investigation is now more botched up than it ever was.
While the fudging brings back the reminders of Pathribal DNA fudging case, it is almost impossible to regain credibility of the investigation process.  
In his June 1 press conference Omar had remarked that state institutions lack credibility, thus leading to anger among the people.  Developments on the Shopian crisis have only helped to erode the credibility further. Be it the state’s so called misguided response in its earlier days, or the final report of the Justice Jan Commission, the state has always been found wanting in the case. The fudging of the swabs has robed the investigation process of any little credibility it may have had.
The big problem, however, is how to proceed from here and nail the perpetrators. And whom to trust with the job. Police is suspect, and even doctors are in the dock now. The state itself faces a credibility crisis on the issue.
Cracking the Shopian case is the only way for the young chief minister to regain his credibility. There have been enough of cover ups in the case, and they only serve to create more problems for the state. It is high time the state realises that solving the Shopain rape and murder mystery is in everyone’s interest – it is in interest of people, it is in the interest of government and above all it is in the interest of justice.
But a realization or an admission of guilt is not enough. Action has to make way for words and intentions. A strong will is needed to move ahead, come clean on the issue, and crack the case by finding whatever little options are left.
With crucial evidence lost, there should be no delay in an exhumation now. If the government is sincere enough, it can still act by cracking down on people responsible for tampering the evidence at any level, and simultaneously retrieve the leads that lead to the perpetrators of the crime.
Handing the case over to CBI is just an easy way out. The government has to understand that its interest lies in a speedy solution, not a delayed one.


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