Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bomai, The Acid Test

Government is unnecessarily making matters worse in Bomai; it should fix the responsibility and punish the guilty before it is too late
Courtesy: Editorial Daily Rising Kashmir dated March 3rd, 2009
It’s been over ten days since the devotees, Javed Ahmad and Muhammad Amin of Sopore, fell to army bullets on way back from a religious congregation at Tujjar. The incident had evoked large-scale protests in Sopore and the protests had a violent spillover to other parts of the Valley especially Srinagar. Chief Minister was quick to order a magisterial probe, promising that the erring soldiers would be brought to the book within fifteen days. According to the deadline set by the chief minister people should get the satisfactory justice by March 5. T
he Chief Minister said he believed in doing his job silently and as soon as he heard about the Bomai incident, he ordered a time-bound inquiry, without taking any time. The fact that the life returned to normal in entire Valley after a weeklong strife over the killings only on Saturday is the grim reminder of the level of credibility of government promises among the common masses. What made maters from bad to worse is that the government has initiated the probe into Bomai incident so casually that it courted controversy at the very outset. Locals now allege that the army has presented its ‘agents’ as the witness in the session. Separatist forces have joined the chorus triggering fresh turmoil in the town. The locals are so much agitated over the vacuous promises made by the government that on Saturday the situation took yet another turn. People in Bomai decided not to send their wards to classes till the School buildings that have been under occupation for several years were vacated. The government is unfortunately unable to read the subtext of such demands. When people demand justice from government it is simply evident, especially in Kashmir context, of the popular legitimacy of the state system. The chief minister must recognize that for the Bomai demand the reference point is the state government. But, the tragedy is that the government is shying away from identifying the culprits and delivering the justice. Bomai is acid test for Cong-NC government, which is riding on the rhetoric of change. Not because it did not change anything yet but because the government seem, in Bomai context, no different than governor’s rule when the people suffered about five weeks of siege.

5 comments:

  1. While government of India has filed over 5000 page chargesheet against Ajmal Amir Kasab, the terror suspect of 26/11 Mumbai attacks and is fully geared up to hang him up for killing scores of innocent civilians on the fateful night of 26/11. Even the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India went to the extent of going on record saying that terrorists like Kasab have no human rights, they should rather appeal for animal rights owing to the beastly acts of terror perpetrated by them over unarmed civilians of India. Now the question here is what opinion does the Chief Justice of India hold about the dastardly acts of murder committed by Rashtriya Rifles officers on the unarmed, innocent civilians of Bomai. Even the deceased were common civilians and had nothing to do with insurgency, then shouldn't the armymen too be labelled as terrorists as good as Kasab and shouldn't they too be hanged and tried under animal rights Act. If at all Govt. of India boasts of having no double standards and is ready to treat all kinds of terrorist activities in a like manner, then there should be no second thought on hanging the Bomai culprits in public in order to provide a detterrant for other armed groups in the valley. But we all know that is not going to happen since it will lower the morale of security forces occupying the land of Kashmir, as the GOI as time and again been saying under such circumstances. GOI will never go for a fair deal in such cases and even if RR is held responsible for the killings, the maximum punishment that shall be awarded to the killers will be their transfer or at the most their suspension from service. That can by no means termed as justice with the victims of their trigger happy attitudes. Nevertheless, Bomai is a litmus test for the newly elected govt of the state. At least Bomai will lay to rest all false hopes and aspirations of a few sects of our society from the present govt.

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  2. Nuclear Flashpoint Kashmir04 March, 2009 22:41

    Inquiry commission ‘indicts’ Army
    Daily Rising Kashmir dated March 5th, 2009
    Srinagar, March 4: The inquiry report submitted by the Inquiry officer about the Bomai killings has allegedly indicted army for the killing of two youth.
    The report was submitted to Chief secretary S S Kapur by Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla Baseer Ahmad Khan who led an inquiry commission ordered by the Government soon after two youth were killed by Army at Bomai on February 21.

    Two civilians, Muhammed Amin Tantray and Javid Ahmed Dar were killed when 22 Rashtriya Rifles personnel opened fire on devotees at Bomai village. The incident sparked massive protests across the Valley.
    The Army too had ordered a separate probe into killing of two civilians and it had appointed a Brigadier as the inquiry officer. A murder case was also registered against the Army unit by the Police.
    Sources said that Baseer Ahmad Khan, who led the inquiry commission to probe the killing of two civilians in Bomai village in the outskirts of Sopore town, in his report has mentioned there was “no crossfire as claimed by the Army.”
    “The Army had informed the inquiry officer that the local police chowki and the officer on duty were informed about militant movement in the area,” said an official privy to the inquiry report. “But when the police officer deposed before the inquiry officer, he denied having any such information”.
    A senior officer of the force who appeared before the inquiry officer had claimed that the militants had opened fire on troops by a pistol. But the inquiry officer had pointed out that not a single pistol fire cartridge was recovered from the spot, thus rubbishing the Army’s claim.
    The inquiry officer has said that the troopers did not also follow the Standards Operation Procedures (SOP) during the incident. The inquiry officer, in his report, has said that Army opened fired at the civilians and the bullet wounds were found above the chest level which indicated that Army opened fire with intention to kill the civilians.
    Confirming the receiving the report Chief Secretary, S S Kapur told Rising Kashmir that the repot was received from the Inquiry Officer. “It has been sent to home department for further necessary action,” he said
    Without going into details Kapur said, “It is not the right time to go into details. The report is being examined and will be sent to chief minister in next two or three days”
    When asked whether the report has indicted army and demanded removal of army camps from Bomai, Kapur refused to comment.
    Meanwhile the Coordination committee President Hakeemul Rehman told Rising Kashmir that it is an appreciable step on part of the government that the commission has submitted its report within the specified time.
    “Now we will wait for CM. We would see whether he keeps his word of punishing the guilty,” he said.

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  3. Nuclear Flashpoint Kashmir04 March, 2009 23:16

    Guilty will be punished: CM
    Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dated March 5th, 2009
    ‘If army found involved, I will raise issue with GoI’
    Rising Kashmir News
    Srinagar, March 04: Chief Minister of State Omar Abdullah Wednesday said if army is found involved in Bomai killings then the issue would be taken up with Defence and Union Home Ministry.
    Talking to media persons during his visit to Tulip Garden, Omar said that he had come to know that the inquiry report has reached the Chief Secretary and that he was waiting for the report.

    Stating that he was yet to see the final report of the probe, the chief minister assured that anybody found guilty will be punished. “If army is found involved in the killing of two youth in Bomai, then I will take up the matter with Defence and Union Home Ministry and seek action against the involved.
    “I don’t want incidents like Bomai to happen again,” he asserted.
    He said his government had taken a strict stand against the Bomai incident by ordering a time-bound probe and assuring exemplary punishment to the guilty.
    The chief minister maintained that nobody should point fingers on the credibility of his government as it was working with a transparency and dedication.
    On February 21 evening two students were killed 22 RR personnel in Bomai. The incident triggered valley-wide protests.

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  4. Nuclear Flashpoint Kashmir04 March, 2009 23:26

    Bar submits report before HC in Bomai killings

    Courtesy Daily Rising Kashmir dt March 5th, 2009
    Srinagar Mar 04: Jammu Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHCBA) Wednesday submitted a report before the High Court regarding the Bomai killings.
    According to a statement issued here, a nine-member team of Bar Association visited Bomai on March 01 and talked with the eye- witnesses to formulate a report regarding the killings.
    JKHCBA team led by its President Mian Abdul Qayoom learnt from the people that troopers from 22 RR stopped in the main chowk of Bomai on February 22 and started indiscriminate firing.
    “There was rush in the Chowk because of the holy congregation and three youth Muhammad Amin Tantry, Javed Ahmed Dar and Nazir Ahmed Khwaja were injured. Tantry and Dar succumbed to their injuries,” read the statement.
    The report also informed that the 22 RR camp has been posing problems to the locals since 2003 when the troopers from the camp arrested a bridegroom and tortured him to death.
    Besides, the local students have been complaining about the harassment at the hands of the troopers for long time.
    “District Development Commissioner also visited the place and assured that the culprits will be booked under law,” read the report quoting the locals.
    “Within 100 days of the new government the killings at Bomai took place and it has deflated the claims of the new government,” people said while talking with the delegation.
    Qayoom confirmed that the commissioner has reported the statements from 26 witnesses on February 26 and of the other three on February 28 and four witnesses from the Army have also reported before the commissioner.
    Police station Sopore has also filed FIR bearing number 73/2009 under section 302 RPC.
    District administration had also given a cheque of Rs one lakh to the families of the slain youth and Rs 30000 to the injured youth but they refused saying that they cannot take anything till the culprits are booked, the report said.
    It added that the said RR camp has perpetrated many crimes since 1991.
    Intikhab Yousuf, Muhammad Amin Bhat, Rafiq Ahmed, Altaf Ahmed, Imtiyaz Ahmed, Shabir Ahmed, Mian Muzaffar, Naveed Ahmed were part of the Bar delegation.

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  5. Nuclear Flashpoint Kashmir16 March, 2009 02:58

    Army deflates Bomai probe
    Daily Rising Kashmir dt March 16th, 2009
    Says Govt inquiry not valid
    Rising Kashmir News
    Srinagar, March 15: Army has refused to participate in the inquiry being conducted by the State government into the killing of two innocent civilians at Bomai in Sopore town in February saying such a probe was not valid.

    A New Delhi based private news channel NDTV reported that the inquiry, initiated by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, had blamed army personnel present at the site of encounter for not verifying claims of their informers before shooting down innocent civilians.
    The civilian inquiry had asked army to present before it personnel involved in the killing. NDTV quoted sources as saying that the Brigade Command informed through a letter that such an inquiry was not valid under the Army Act.
    Citing the Army Act, the force handed over a statement giving their version of the story, NDTV reported.
    The army's rejection of the government probe is likely to figure in the high-level meeting between the CM, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and the army authorities scheduled for Wednesday in Jammu, the sources said.
    The CM had come down heavily on troops for using excess force and announced an inquiry into the killing of two youths on February 22.

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