Institutional Credibility

Announcing a judicial probe in Shopian case on June 01, chief minister Omar Abdullah made an honest admission. He said the trust in the institutions is eroded fully and the situation prevailing in the state for a long time has been a major contributor towards this loss. He said his government will make all efforts to restore the faith of people in the institutions.
The way investigations have been going on for the last four months in this case, explains why the institutions in J&K can not be trusted. First the local doctors got discredited and soon after the local policemen were caught on the wrong foot for skipping the methods laid down by the law. In between doctors established the rape but the slides were claimed to have been fudged, much later. But after four months it seems to have been established that the doctors had collectively decided to doctor slides rather than collecting samples from the bodies of the dead women.
A judicial commission led by retired judge Muzaffar Jan had a police component to help it in investigations. Expectation was that it will offer certain clues. It ended up raising more questions than answers. Eventually the judge was reported fighting with the police officer in Srinagar newspapers.
With an overload of hopes, Special Investigation Team was set up. Initially it said it can not deliver unless the Shopian opens and calls off its strike. The breather came after 47 days when on the request of the High Court the apple town resumed routine. Many weeks later, it had nothing much to share with the people. The police, in fact, was desperate that somehow the CBI should take it over.
The systemic failure that took place in last over 120 days was enough to convince the people that cover up is part of the case management. The death of one of the Majlis activists, that police believes took place because of poisoning, is still a mystery.
This definitely is not the way for restoring the institutional credibility. If we need to hunt for an instance, we better go 300 kms away to Jammu where the same police has exhibited how crimes can be handled. In the case of a gang war death, the police somehow got to know that killer’s family has spent money to fudge the evidence – change the pistol that was used in the crime, a SIT conducted transparent investigations as a result of which a police officer of SSP rank is right now behind the bars. Police in Srinagar also detained a group of policemen for destruction of evidence but, as was alleged before the division bench, they were put in a guest house and were even permitted to drive their cars.


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