Four police officers, booked for destruction, dissipation and suppression of evidence in the Shopian rape and murder case, were arrested on Wednesday night.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) Farooq Ahmad told HT that “the arrests were made on the orders of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court”.
Ahmad, who also heads the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the double rape and murder case, said a team of the SIT headed by senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rouful Hassan raided the premises of the four police officers and arrested them.
The SIT has been presenting a weekly report to the high court on the progress made in its investigations.
The bodies of Nelofar Jan (23) and her sister-in-law Asiya Jan (17) were found in a canal outside Shopian the morning after they went missing on May 29 when they had left home for the family orchard. The police had initially said they had drowned to death but added rape and murder to the first information report after two post mortem reports confirmed the local people’s suspicion that they were raped and murdered.
Shopian has been observing a complete shutdown since then to demand arrest of the perpetrators of the crime. They have been saying all along that the two women were raped and killed by men in uniform.
The four police officers who have been arrested are the then Shopian Superintendent of Police Javid Iqbal Mattoo, his deputy Rohit Baskotra, inspector Shafiq Ahmad and sub-inspector Gazi Abdul Karim.
They were placed under suspension on June 22 after the Justice Muzaffar Jan Commission recommended in its interim report to the state government that the 4 officers be prosecuted for destroying evidence.
A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir said in their order that the officers would not be granted bail by any court and any requests for bail should be made to the high court only.
The court also ordered the blood samples of the police officers be collected for DNA tests. Their DNA profiles would be matched with those of the two young women who were raped and killed near Shopian, 50 km south of Srinagar, on May 30.
It also ordered narco analysis tests of the police officers.
The bench issued the order in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by the J&K High Court Bar Association.
The court appealed the people of Shopian to call of their strike as it entered the 47th day on Wednesday. “The restoration of normalcy would not only bring relief to the people of Shopian but also help in the investigation of the case,” the chief justice said.