Seizure of Rashid Billa’s Property Superficial, Ineffective, alleges Rights Group

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

Notorious Ikhwani Abdul Rashid Parray alias Rashid Billa and two accomplices have evaded arrest and other measures ordered by the judiciary to ensure their arrest and continue to escape prosecution for the killing of seven civilians referred to as the Saderkoot massacre of 5 October 1996.

The family of the seven victims have been fighting for justice for 20 years and despite the intervention of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, the State, from the police to the civilian administration, appears to be involved in the protection of Rashid Billa and his associates, a statement issued by JKCCS said on Tuesday evening.

On 22 March 2016, the High Court granted the police a last chance to arrest the accused. Pursuant to the above order, the police approached the Court of Judicial Magistrate, Sumbal and on 11 April 2016, the Judicial Magistrate found that the three accused in the case – Abdul Rashid Parray alias Rashid Billa, Wali Mohammad Mir and Mohammad Ayoub Dar – were concealing themselves, declared them to be “proclaimed offenders” and directed that the Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora attach the immovable and movable property of the three accused by taking possession by seizure so as to facilitate their arrest.

“Following the above court order, it was reported in the media that the properties – residential and agricultural land – of the three accused were seized through Tehsildar, Hajin and the Sumbal police. But, the victim families allege that the seizure is only superficial and ineffective as the accused continue to have full access to their property. For example, it is alleged that while the police have locked the front doors of the residences, the accused continue to have access to the residence through other entrances. Therefore, the “seizure” appears to be purely formal and not towards the arrest of the accused. By communication dated 7 June 2016, this information was brought to the attention of the Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, who, by communication dated 23 June 2016, has directed the Tehsildar, Hajin, and Station House Officer, Police Station Hajin to take “appropriate necessary action” under law,” the statement said.

“The manner in which Rashid Billa and associates continue to evade arrest is an indictment of the entire system that appears to work towards promoting impunity with absolute disregard to human life and principles of justice,” the statement added.

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