In pursuit of justice

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In a small brightly lit room at her home in Brein Nishat, Parveena sits quietly. She has never been her old self since her young son was killed. She recently had to undergo a surgery. The family is fighting to bring the killers of their ward to justice.

Parveena’s 18-year-old son Zahid Farooq was killed by border security force personnel on February 5, on a rainy Friday afternoon.

 “They were sitting on the banks of the Lake, three BSF vehicles passed by. They alighted their vehicles, started abusing Zahid and his friend and then chased them away. While they were running for safety the BSF men opened fire that caught Zahid,” said Zahid’s cousin, Shahid Sheikh.

While Zahid was battling for life on the roadside, a few meters away his mother Parveena was attending to daily household chores in her home.

“I wish I had not allowed him to go out of the house,” says Parveena, her voice choking.

The family of Zahid Farooq says the BSF personnel who fired at Zahid were in their civvies. The BSF personnel fled the spot soon after some neighbours came out rushing to the spot where Zahid was lying. “They BSF personnel had removed all the evidence, even taken the empty cartridges away,” says Shahid.

People found a bullet from the site where Zahid was lying and handed it over to the police. The bullet was used as evidence against the BSF personnel.

Zahid was taken to SMHS hospital by his neighbours who had assembled on the roads. “At SMHS the doctors asked us to shift him to SKIMS as his condition was critical,” says Parveena, Zahid’s mother.

On way to SKIMS the family was stopped by paramilitary and police personnel at various junctions in the city. “When we reached SKIMS finally, Zahid was declared dead,” says Shahid.

A FIR no 4/2010 under section RPC was filed in the police station Nishat, which said ‘some unknown men fired at Zahid’.

Autopsy revealed that the bullet had pierced the back and chest, damaging the lungs.

On February 10, BSF declared that it was an accidental fire that killed Zahid Farooq. After internal inquiry by the BSF it was found that the youth was killed by a constable Lakhwinder Kumar. The constable was arrested on February 10. Meanwhile, in BSF investigation Commandent R K Birdi’s name surfaced and he was handed over to the police. Police arrested Birdi for his alleged role in Zahid Farooq’s killing and booked him under sections 302-murder, 201-destruction of evidence, 307- attempt to murder, 120 B-criminal conspiracy of RPC.

“It’s a simple civil case, a murder case. I don’t know why they are delaying the trial process. I will fight till the end. My son was not involved in any stone pelting incident,” said Farooq Ahmed Sheikh, father of Zahid Farooq.

The accused got the case transferred from the civil court to the BSF court on 25th of November. However, the High Court ordered a stay on the case on December 2. “We have been fighting. We don’t need any jobs or compensation. We want the perpetrators to be booked or hanged,” said Parveena.

The charge sheet against the accused was filed before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar. “The BSF also moved an application under section 80 of BSF act seeking custody of the accused and the case,” said Nazir Ahmed Ronga, Zahid’s counsel.

The state and the victim family’s counsel pleaded that the BSF court has no jurisdiction in the case and that neither the accused nor the case can be transferred to a BSF court.

The state has filed a revision before the High Court against the transferring the case. “The decision to try the accused in the BSF court or the civil court now rests with the Honourable High Court,” Ronga said.

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About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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