The Jammu and Kashmir police have transferred and demoted the police officer investigating the killing of a civilian in a 'staged' encounter in north Kashmir's Bandipora district last month.
Hilal Ahmad Dar, a resident of Aloosa village, Bandipora district, 40 km north-east of Srinagar, was found dead with bullet injuries on July 25 morning in a forest area.
The army then claimed Dar was killed in an encounter and branded him as a militant. The killing triggered massive violent protests by locals as the police investigation revealed that there was no adverse past of the deceased civilian. Later, the police investigation forced the army to order an inquiry to investigate the circumstances in which Dar was killed. Union defence minister AK Antony also assured investigation in the case.
The case was investigated by Bandipore's additional superintendent of police Waseem Qadiri, a known name in the counter-insurgency operations. The investigation zeroed in on an army informer, Muhammed Ramzan Lone alias Rameez, a local, and claimed he had obtained two weapons from the Army in March this year and handed it over to Dar.
Lone's friend Nazir Ahmad, a former militant, accompanied Dar to nearby Halmathpora forests on July24-25 night on the direction of the army informer, revealed the police investigation.
The investigation came as an embarrassment to the army, facing similar charges of staged encounter in Machil area where three civilians were allegedly killed in a fake encounter for promotions and awards in 2010.
In the wake of wide media coverage of the investigation report, sources said Qadri was demoted from additional SP's post to DSP rank and transferred to the Special Operations Group in Srinagar last week. Qadri was transferred to Bandipora district earlier this year. Director General of Police, Ashok Prasad, who assumed officer last month, has now barred police officers up to the rank of superintendent of police from talking to the press.
"Nobody will be allowed to deliberately leak the information that jeopardizes the overall functioning of the police," Prasad was quoted by a local daily here. The police are working on a "proper and structured way of sharing information."
"To call it a gag or ban is wrong. In every organization a system works and that system will be in place here also," said the DGP.