In a first, the army on Wednesday conferred gallantry awards on Jammu and Kashmir police officers. The list of five, however, included two officers whose names had surfaced in connection with a custodial death in Sopore district in 2011.
Former Sopore superintendentof police (SP) Altaf Ahmad Khan and deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Ashiq Hussain Tak had even been transferred on the directions of chief minister Omar Abdullah. "The death of Rasheed in police custody is a gross human rights violation and inexcusable," Abdullah had said.
On Wednesday, Srinagar-based army spokesman JS Brar told HT, "These awards have been given on the basis of particular operations conducted by these officers against terrorists. We did not take into account their entire police records."
Sopore had witnessed protests in the wake of the killing of civilian Nazim Rashid, 28, a day after a special team led by Tak picked him up on July 30.
Rasheed had been reportedly picked up on the instructions of Khan for questioning in connection with the killing of a labourer, Mohammad Ashraf Dar. The roles of Tak and Khan in the custodial death are yet to be ascertained.
Besides Khan, North Kashmir deputy inspector general Muneer Ahmad Khan and DSP Handwara Ifroz Ahmad were awarded with a Chief of the Army Staff Commendation Card, while Tak and DSP Iftikhar Talib got the Army Commander's Commendation Card.
"I wish the police fraternity many more successes," read the message by Chinar Corps Lieutenant General SA Hasnain.