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Magisterial inquiry inducts Amy officer for killing a student in Srinagar outskirts, MoD absolves of charges

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The last time 17-year-old Javaid Ahmed Magray’s family saw him alive, he was studying in his own room. It was late on the evening of 30 April 2003. When they came downstairs the next morning, Javaid was gone.

His father Ghulam Nabi Magray saw a few army personnel standing at the gate outside, and told them that his son was missing. They said, “Don’t look for him, go back inside.” But down the road, Ghulam Nabi and his wife Fatima Begum could see bloodstains and a tooth lying on the pavement. Soon after, their neighbours gathered. When they saw the bloodstains, they immediately began shouting and protesting, demanding to know Javaid’s whereabouts.

Amnesty International India launched a new report “Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir”- in New Delhi on Wednesday maintained that during the investigation that followed, Ghulam Nabi testified that the officer in charge of the army camp at Soiteng area in Srinagar outskirts had told them that Javaid was in the Nowgam Police Station. The family had rushed to the police station, only to be told that Javaid had been brought there at about 3 AM but was then taken to Barzulla Hospital, then shifted to SMHS Hospital, and finally to Soura Medical Institute, where he was declared dead.

An officer at Soiteng testified during the investigation that Javaid Ahmed Magray had been wounded in an encounter with some security force personnel, and was taken to Nowgam Police Station and later to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. The then SHO Nowgam police station as per the news agency Kashmir News Trust [KNT] testified that the same officer of the Assam Regiment, on May 1, 2003 at 2:30 AM came with a written application that their party was patrolling in the area and at 00:30 hours (one militant was wounded) while three others taking the benefit of heavy rains and darkness succeeded in running away. The police registered an FIR and sent Javaid to the hospital. They also testified that the police station had no record that Javaid Ahmed was involved in ‘anti-India activity or militancy’.

Relatives and neighbours of Javaid Ahmed Magray, his teachers and representatives of army and police all took part in the inquiry into his death carried out by the district magistrate. The report concluded that the army’s version of events was false and that the deceased boy was not a militant…and has been killed without any justification by a Subedar (a Junior Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army) and his army men being the head of the patrolling party.

According to the District Magistrates report, the Subedar left Srinagar and failed to respond to the official summons to record his statement for the purpose of investigation. The Army, in a letter to the magistrate, said that the Subedar’s unit had been moved and suggested that further correspondence should be sent to another army address. A subsequent letter duly sent was returned undelivered after sixteen days.

In a letter dated 16 July 2007, the Jammu and Kashmir State Home Department wrote to the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence in Delhi to seek sanction to prosecute nine army personnel against whom the state police had filed charges of murder and conspiracy to murder for Javaid Ahmed Magray’s death. The letter stated that “the deceased was a student and was not linked with militancy. He was killed by Assam Regiment after the kidnapping. The case registered by the Assam Regiment against the deceased (as a militant from whom arms and ammunition were recovered) has been closed as not proved. The letter requested the Ministry of Defence to “kindly accord sanction of prosecution as is envisaged under section 7 of the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1990 against the accused Army officials.”

Ghulam Nabi knows that the case was sent for sanction-or official permission to prosecute the security forces personnel-under AFSPA in 2007 but says he has received no information on the outcome of the application. “We simply never heard what happened with it,” he told Amnesty International India. A Ministry of Defence document dated 10 January 2012 simply states that sanction for prosecution was denied on the grounds that “the individual killed was a militant from whom arms and ammunition was recovered. No reliable and tangible evidence has been referred to in the investigation report.” [KNT]


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