The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday issued a notice to director general of police (DGP), inspector general of police (IGP) of the crime branch and Anantnag deputy commissioner to submit all relevant records in the 1995 kidnapping case of four foreigners in Pahalgam.
The notice was issued on a petition filed by International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice (IPTHRJ) seeking directions to the state government to make public the findings of investigation into the kidnapping of four foreigners in Pahalgam area in 1995.
The commission directed them to present the record on the next hearing on May 28.
The SHC in particular directed the IG to present all investigation reports and other records related to the case.
A separate notice was issued to PS Gill, then inspector general of police, Kashmir, and now a politician in Punjab, and Ashkoor Wani, then superintendent of police (SP) Anantnag and presently SSP Poonch in connection with DNA fudging case. They have been directed to submit their objections by the hearing date.
In July 1995, during a trekking expedition, six people were reportedly kidnapped by a group that referred to itself as 'Al-Faran', a front of the Harkat-ul-Ansar.
They were identified as John Childs (Simsbury, Connecticut, US), Dirk Hasert (Bad Langensalza, Germany), Don Hutchings (Spokane, Washington State, US), Keith Mangan (Teesside, Middlesbrough, England), Hans Christian Ostrx (Oslo, Norway) and Paul Wells (Blackburn, Lancashire, England).
However, John Childs was able to escape on July 8, 1995.
The kidnappers demanded the release of 21 people including Maulana Masood Azhar, Sajjad Shahid Khan alias Afghani, and Nasrullah Mansoor Langrial alias Darwesh.
Hans Christian Ostro's body was found on August 13, 1995 in the Shael Dar forest, in Anantnag district.
The petitioner said as part of the ongoing work on the issue of nameless and unmarked graves in Jammu and Kashmir, it is requested that the case of the four kidnapped foreigners be considered by the commission.
It demanded that crime branch (CB) investigations and findings pertaining to the July 1995 kidnapping be made public.
It should also be ascertained whether a final report was submitted in this case before a competent court, and if not, by whose order such submissions were withheld, and action be initiated against those responsible for suppressing the investigations.
There was a demand for investigations into why after the first kidnappings on July 5, 1995, state authorities made no attempt to dissuade foreign and local trekkers from visiting Pahalgam or adjoining areas, which resulted in the subsequent kidnapping on July 8, 1995.
Another demand was that investigations be launched against Gill and Wani, to inquire into their role in the manipulation of the DNA tests of Paul Wells, with the apparent objective of making a claim to the award monies, and for their role in a possible cover-up, as the mishandling and manipulation of evidence appears to be a pattern in Jammu and Kashmir.