A Srinagar court issued on Saturday a non-bailable warrant against the city’s top police officer for defying judicial orders to register cases against his officers and investigate charges that they shot a young man at point-blank range during this month’s protests in Kashmir.
The court asked police to lodge an FIR and probe the death of Shabir Ahmad on July 10. But police didn’t investigate the charges and booked Ahmad under charges of armed rioting and attempt to murder, among others.
Police also refused to file an FIR against deputy superintendent of police, Yasir Qadri, who Ahmad’s family says shot him dead in the lawns of their house in Srinagar.
Many eyewitnesses have told local media that Ahmad was killed because he had a history of stone pelting and that he was shot at from a close range.
The case is likely to fuel anger in the Valley that has been rocked by violent protests after Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani was gunned down on July 8. Tens of thousands of people have clashed with the police, leaving close to 50 people dead and nearly 2,000 injured. Ahmad was the only casualty in Srinagar.
The court directed Srinagar senior superintendent of police Amit Kumar first on July 18 and again July 28 to file the FIR and appear personally if the complaint was not lodged.
But on Saturday, the police asked for the SSP to be exempted from personal appearance and did not submit a copy of the FIR, as directed by the court.
This infuriated chief judicial magistrate Masarat Shaheen, who issued the non-bailable warrant and asked the deputy inspector general of central Kashmir to file a compliance report in two days.
Shaheen also asked the SSP why contempt proceedings shouldn’t be started against him.
“The SSP is further directed to show cause as to why contempt proceedings shall not be initiated against him for not obeying the court directions whereby he was directed to lodge the FIR & file a copy of the FIR within 24 hours,’’ the order said.
The application by Ahmad’s family said on July 10, a police team headed by Qadri barged into their house when they were watching television and started smashing windowpanes and doors.
Ahmad’s mother tried to stop Qadri but he assaulted her, the petition read.
“Ahmad couldn’t tolerate the thrashing of his mother and tried to rescue her. The police officer then took out his pistol and fired two shots at him, resulting in his death,’’ it said.