HC dismisses petition for probe by sitting judge in Handwara incident  

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Srinagar, May 4 (GNS): The Jammu and Kashmir High Court today dismissed Kashmir High Court Bar Association petition, seeking a probe by sitting judge into alleged molestation attempt on girl and killing of five persons including a woman by government forces last month.

“….the State and its functionaries have already taken the required steps envisaged by law and this petition is accordingly dismissed,” a division bench of the court comprising Justice A M Magrey and Tashi Rabstan said while announcing the verdict on the petition by KHCBA.  The court had reserved its decision last week after state government rejected the demand for a probe by a sitting judge of the high court.

The government said that a seven-member special investigation team headed by DIG north Kashmir constituted for speedy investigation of the case.

“The respondents along with the common masses fully trust the institutions of government who in no way are asking for an alternative probe. The respondents believe that in the instant case, the state machinery is competent enough to bring all culprits to book even for the slightest crime,” the government had said.

It said that the investigation along with the magisterial probe in all cases, be it alleged molestation of a schoolgirl or the subsequent killings of Handwara and Kupwara were under progress and the result on merits will follow.

“The justice will prevail. The allegations against the popular government and against the establishment are otherwise baseless,” the government said had, responding to KHCBA’s plea that there should be an independent probe by sitting judge because government probes are not trusted by public.

The government had also termed as ‘baseless’ the KHVCBA’s another plea that that minor girl and his father were illegally detained by police. “The allegations are politically motivated and need not to be considered in light of the issue under reference. It is however submitted that they were under protective custody which was provided to them after girl’s father submitted an application about threat.”

Regarding the killing of Jahangir Ahmad Wani, the government said that he was killed after police and paramilitary forces resorted to “mild cane charging and tear smoke shells were used to maintain law and order after mob resorted to heavy stone pelting”. Regarding the Natnusa firing, the government said that army’s 47 RR was constrained to open fire, resulting in the injuries to some protesters and one among them Arif Mohidin Dar later succumbed to injuries.

In his arguments, advocate Mian Qayoom had referred to a judgment of Rajasthan High Court, stating that a judicial probe by a sitting High Court judge can be ordered in a PIL filed on the basis of newspaper clippings.

Questioning the investigation by police, Qayoom said: “How can one trust police when in one application father of the girl has signed an application while in another he has put thumb impression. Is he literate or illiterate?”

“It is not adversary litigation but a PIL. You (government) should not resist it if you are sincere for a fair probe. There is something up to their sleeves,” Qayoom had pleaded. (GNS)