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Policemen and doctors fudged Chattisinghpora DNA, says panel
July 23, 2003 22:49 IST
Last Updated: July 24, 2003 01:05 IST
A ministerial subcommittee, headed by Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma, has recommended 'severe punishment' for three police officers and two doctors for 'fudging' DNA samples of five innocent civilians, who were killed by security forces for 'massacring' 34 Sikhs in Chattisinghpora, Anantnag district, in March 2000.
The Cabinet met in the evening and accepted the findings of the commission. It suspended Senior Superintendent of Police, Farooq Khan, to facilitate his prosecution and terminated the services of an Assistant Sub-Inspector, Bashir Ahmad. Deputy SP Abdul Rehman was ordered to be censured.
Khan's case will be referred to vigilance for investigation and prosecution.
The commission had found that only those persons would be interested in the destruction or falsification of evidence regarding identification of blood samples, who must have taken part in the killing.
As there was involvement of Khan, who was the then SSP, Anantnag, and Ahmad, in the fake encounter, only they could be held to be interested in attempting to destroy the evidence and the identity of blood samples, it said.
The Cabinet also decided to convey the government's strong displeasure to the then deputy commissioner, Anantnag, B A Runyal, for his refusal to cooperate with the inquiry commission, which condemned him in its report.
It conveyed its displeasure to Dr Balbir Kaur and her team of doctors, as the commission had found them inexperienced besides being negligent in their conduct.
The civilians were killed at Panchalthan-Pathribal, five days after the Chattisinghpora incident.
The security forces said the bodies of the deceased were beyond recognition, as they were burnt during the exchange of fire.
However, locals took to the streets claiming that those killed were innocent.
The protests continued for over a week and ended on a violent note when Special Operations Group personnel opened fire on the agitators in Achabal town, killing seven and injuring several in April 2000.
Bowing to the pressure, the Farooq Abdullah government ordered a probe into the killings, including those at Panchalthan-Pathribal.
A team of doctors, assisted by senior police officers, opened the graves of the five 'mercenaries' and collected DNA samples.
But media reports from Kolkata and Hyderabad suggested that there were attempts to tamper with the DNA tests and this led to yet another probe. The tests were done afresh in March 2002.
The government constituted a one-man commission to enquire whether the samples of those killed were tampered with. It also requested the two premier diagnostic laboratories of the country -- the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Kolkata, and Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad -- to send representatives who would personally collect the samples for establishing the identity of the five.
These tests confirmed that those killed were indeed civilians.
After the Mufti Mohammed Sayeed government took over last year, it constituted the three-member ministerial team to probe the incident and fix responsibility.