Pulling authorities in Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International (AI) India Monday asked them to reopen investigation into the death of a boy allegedly killed by police personnel in July 2010, and accelerate delayed investigations into similar ‘killings’ committed during the same period.
“Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have an obligation under national and international law to conduct prompt and thorough investigations into the deaths. Delayed, partial or incomplete investigations violate the rights of the victims’ families to effective remedy and accountability, and contribute to the prevailing climate of impunity in J&K,” read the statement.
“Amnesty International India urges authorities in J&K to promptly bring those suspected of criminal responsibility in the deaths of those killed in firing by security forces in 2010 to trial in fair proceedings,” it added.
Giving chronology of events which happened in 2010 which led to mass uprising, AI said that over 100 people, some of whom engaged in stone-pelting, were killed in 2010 during widespread protests when the police and other security forces used excessive, and at times unnecessary, force,” read the statement.
AI in its statement said that on June 11 2010, two police personnel in Srinagar allegedly killed 17-year old Tufail Mattoo as he walked home from a tutoring session for school.
“Two police personnel, who were clashing with protesters, fired a tear gas shell at Mattoo at close range which shattered his skull and instantly killed him.”
AI accuses police of not registering the case when Mattoo’s father Muhammad Ashraf attempted to file a complaint reporting the killing of his son at the local police station the same day.
“The family approached a local court in July 2010, which directed the police to register the incident and carry out an investigation. In July 2011, the family went to the J&K High Court to question the delay in the investigation. The Court directed a special police team to investigate the incident.
In November 2012, after more than a year, the police team submitted a case closure report to a Srinagar trial court, without informing the Mattoo family, saying that the perpetrators of the crime were “untraceable”, the statement read.
“The closure report said there was insufficient evidence available to identify Mattoo’s killers. The report also stated that Mattoo’s death was the result of being struck in the head by a stone, not a tear gas shell. When the Mattoo family learned about the police report, they challenged the closure of the investigation before the J&K High Court. The family said the investigation disregarded crucial evidence and eyewitness testimonies, including a post-mortem report submitted by a team of doctors stating that the cause of death was a tear gas shell.”
AI accused that many of the killings caused by the use of force in 2010 have not yet been investigated.
“The state police have said that 79 First Information Reports have been registered relating to the deaths, of which charges have been filed only in 43 cases. The police have closed 18 cases because they say the perpetrators were ‘untraced’.”
“The state government appointed a judicial commission in July 2010 to look into 17 killings committed during the unrest. But the commission stopped functioning in 2011 when the judges serving on it resigned,” it added.
“On June 7, 2013, the J&K High Court gave the state government four weeks to state when the commission would resume its investigation, and explain why it was looking at only 17 cases. The High Court was hearing a public interest litigation filed seeking the registration of First Information Reports on 117 deaths that took place in 2010,” it concluded