STATE TIMES EXCLUSIVE
Magisterial enquiry finds Gowhar was shot into head by CRPF
J&K Govt. did not take any action on enquiry into Zainakote engineering student’s killing; Report submitted in Jan, tossed to CRPF in Feb
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU, April 23: A magisterial inquiry ordered by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government in Jammu and Kashmir has held the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officials guilty of killing Gowhar Nazir Dar, a 22-year-old engineering student of SSM College of Engineering, during a demonstration at Zainakote, on the outskirts of Srinagar, on the day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. Even as the enquiry has been concluded and its report has been gathering dust in the State’s Home Department since January, Governor Narendra Nath Vohra or Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has not taken any action against the officials involved in the student’s killing.
Gowhar had been hit in the CRPF action after a crowd of the demonstrators attacked headquarters of CRPF 44 Bn. In his residential village of Zainakote on Srinagar-Baramulla highway, after Prime Minister Modi addressed a joint rally of PDP and BJP workers in Srinagar on November 7, 2015. Then Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed and the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti also addressed the gathering before Modi announced his Rs 80,000 crore special economic package for Jammu and Kashmir.
Mufti lost no time to order a magisterial enquiry into the circumstances that led to Gowhar’s death. Additional Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, N.A. Baba, was appointed as the Enquiry Officer. He conducted the first visit to the spot on November 19, recorded eyewitness accounts, interrogated Police and CRPF personnel and finally submitted his report to Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar on January 20, 2016, when Mufti had passed away and Governor Vohra was functioning as the head of the government.
Documents accessed by STATE TIMES make it clear that DC Srinagar Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone further submitted the enquiry report to Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon vide No: DMS/Jud/Enquiry/3230/2015 Dated 21-01-2016 for taking up the matter with the Government in Home Department “for further required action in view of the recommendations made by the enquiry officer”.
Additional Commissioner Kashmir in the office of Divisional Commissioner forwarded it to Principal Secretary Home R.K. Goyal vide No: DivCom/RA-Enq/05/2016 Dated 27-01-2016 “for favour of information and further necessary action”.
Tossed to CRPF
Under the direction of Principal Secretary Home, the enquiry report was submitted to Special Director General CRPF, J&K Zone, Bantalab Campus Jammu, by Under Secretary Home Syed Yasir Farooq vide No: Home/ISA/2015/179/1096 Dated 29-02-2016. Making a mockery of the whole exercise of the magisterial inquiry, Special DG CRPF was requested “kindly to take immediate necessary action in the matter and favour with the action taken report to this department at the earliest”.
Even as Principal Secretary Home Mr Goyal was not reachable, sources in the Government insisted that CRPF dumped the enquiry report and did not even bother to respond. Even after Mehbooba Mufti---whose Government last week ordered a similar magisterial inquiry in the circumstances that led to death of five civilians in the firing of Police and Army in Handwara---took over as Chief Minister on April 4, nobody even sent a reminder to Special DG CRPF.
The enquiry report, available with STATE TIMES, notes that Gowhar was hit straight above his ear, causing parieto-temporal wound of one cm diameter with exposed brain matter caused by high velocity impact. The medical report issued by Medical Superintendent SKIMS did not rule out either a bullet or a teargas shell. It mentioned the cause of death: “I. Multiple pellet wounds from left side of the face. Such a wound to be caused by high velocity impact (left parieto-temporal wound). II. Single entry wound in the skull just above the left ear”.
The enquiry report concluded: “There is no controversy regarding death of the victim Shri Gowhar Nazir Dar due to profuse bleeding of left parieto-temporal wound caused by high velocity impact as testified by the attending doctors. There is ample indication that shelling done by the CRPF has hit the victim on the left side of the head above the pinna considered to be direct target on the vital part of the victim and rejecting the safe mode theory of shell firing by the CRPF”.
It added: “There is crystality of the circumstantial testimonies that Bible of the security forces in the nature of SOP has been grossly violated”.
Hit in head
“In the above backdrop, significantly action taken by CRPF under the command of Commandant and Deputy Commandant CRPF 44 Bn on 07-11-2015 does not subscribe to the set canons of law and cardinal principles of SOP, besides it is not co-terminus to their status and ultimate loss could have been avoided by resorting to appropriate preferred methods or hitting the non-vital parts of the body or in such a manner that no human life would have lost”, reads the conclusion.
The enquiry report has observed that both, Commanding Officer Rajesh Kumar and Deputy Commandant Rajnesh Kumar were in their civvies (track suits) “which is a sign of their casual approach and gross violation of SOP”. Contrary to the CRPF claims, it has noted that Gowhar was killed near Ahli Hadees Masjid---850 meters from the CRPF battalion headquarters earlier attacked by the crowd. It noted that Gowhar was hit at 5.30 pm when the situation around that time (5.00 pm to 6.00 pm) was “quite normal”.
Even as the enquiry report has recommended identification of the CRPF involved in the firing and their criminal prosecution under law, besides relocation of the camp so as to ensure that no such clash occurred in future, the J&K Government has not initiated any action. None of the CRPF officials has been included by name in the FIR registered by Police Station Parimpora.
[Published exclusively in today’s STATE TIMES]