Srinagar, July 23: The Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government today launched the biggest crackdown yet on law-enforcers accused of foul-play in anti-insurgency operations.
The Jammu and Kashmir government suspended senior superintendent of police, special branch, Farooq Khan, and terminated the services of an assistant sub-inspector, both of whom have been found guilty of “fudging” the DNA samples of five civilians killed in a fake encounter on March 25, 2000.
The civilian slaughter at Pathribal followed the massacre of 36 Sikh villagers in south Kashmir’s Chattisinghpora on March 21, when the then US president Bill Clinton was visiting India.
Farooq Khan was the Anantnag district police chief when the incident occurred. He now heads the special branch of state intelligence in Jammu. This is the first known case of an officer of such a high rank being punished for an offence linked to operations against insurgents in the state.
The state government has also decided to prosecute assistant sub-inspector Bashir Ahmad, besides terminating his services. Deputy superintendent of police Abdul Rehman was ordered to be censured.
The cabinet decided to convey the government’s strong displeasure to the then district magistrate of Anantnag, Bashir Runiyal, and Dr Balbir Kaur, the head of the department of forensic science, and her team for lack of “proficiency and diligence”.
The decisions followed the recommendations of a three-member cabinet sub-committee headed by deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma that considered further action on the findings of the Justice G.. Kuchay Commission on fudging of the samples.
The commission found the whole affair of collecting blood samples to be fishy due to police-related support. The sub-committee had found that only those persons related to the killings would be interested in the destruction or falsification of evidence.
The cabinet accepted all the recommendations of the sub-committee that called for severe punishment to the guilty.
The case of Farooq Khan, whose role in the fake encounter and destruction of evidence has been cited by the panel, will be referred to vigilance for investigation and prosecution.
Security forces claimed the civilians to be militants involved in the Chattisinghpora massacre.
Faced with a public outcry that those killed were innocent civilians, the state government ordered a probe.
The bodies of the victims were exhumed and DNA samples sent for tests.
Reports from Calcutta and Hyderabad that there were attempts to tamper with the DNA tests led to another probe and the tests were done afresh in March last year.
After the Mufti government came to power in the state last year, the three-member sub-committee was constituted.