Handwara Killings: ‘21 RR Personnel, Involved Cops be Immediately Arrested,’ says CCS



Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s “request” to Union Defence Minister for justice in Handwara Killings “shows that the real power lies in New Delhi”, a statement issued by Srinagar based Human Rights defender group, JKCCS, said Wednesday afternoon.

“The move by the Chief Minister to approach the Indian Defence Minister does explain where political power vis-à-vis even law and order in Kashmir lies,” the CCS statement said.

Four civilians have been killed by forces in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district since Tuesday afternoon.

“24 hours after the killings, the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has only made statements that do not address the steps that must be immediately taken. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has sought assurance from the Indian Defence Minister that action should be taken in this case,” the statement said, “it appears that the Jammu and Kashmir Police have recorded and uploaded a video of the victim of sexual violence exonerating the army and both the police and army have circulated this video widely, including to news channels.”

The statement demanded that the army personnel of 21 RR involved in the killings, including those present on the scene of crime and in-command of 21 RR, and involved police personnel, must be immediately arrested for purposes of investigations. “Arms, ammunition and any other physical evidence connected to the killings must be immediately seized. Arrest of armed forces personnel in Jammu and Kashmir is not barred by any law. No standard operating procedures need be consulted, particularly as it appears from RTI information sought that no such SOPs even exist for situations such as the instant one of protests,” the statement said.

It further read that the video of the victim of sexual violence, a minor, has been circulated “to distract” from the investigation of 21 RR personnel responsible for the killings. “The actual circulation of the video, and disclosure of the identity of the victim, would invite prosecution under criminal law and/or other disciplinary action for the Superintendent of Police and other police officials involved. The army circulation of the video must also be examined as on one hand they have regretted the killings but at the same time are deeply invested in prejudicing investigations against their personnel. The circulation of this video has serious ramifications for the security of the victim.”

“Due to the role of the police, particularly the Handwara police, over the last 24 hours, the investigation of this case must be immediately, at the very least, handed over to a senior police officer of another district, with no criminal allegations against him,” the statement further said.


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