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Panel probing civilian killings to get another extension

The judicial commission probing the 17 civilian killings during last year's summer unrest in the Kashmir Valley is all set to get another extension as the high court has asked it not to submit the report without its permission.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2011 11:46 IST

The judicial commission probing the 17 civilian killings during last year's summer unrest in the Kashmir Valley is all set to get another extension as the high court has asked it not to submit the report without its permission.

"We will put forth the proposal for extension to the state government as soon as we receive it from the commission," State Law Secretary G H Tantray told PTI.

The term of the Commission ends today but it has not been able to complete its probe so far.

Appointed on July 27, the two-member commission was initially given three months to complete the probe but deteriorating law and order situation forced two extensions.

State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) Chairman Justice (retd) Syed Bashiruddin Ahmad, who is heading the commission, said since the matter was sub-judice, he would not like to comment on the issue.

"The probe (into the killings) had reached an advanced stage but is now held up due to the pending writ petition filed by the CRPF in the state high court," Justice Ahmad said.

The CRPF filed a writ petition in the high court earlier this month seeking orders to quash the notification under which the state government ordered judicial probe into the 17 civilian killings in June-July last year.

The court directed the commission not to submit the final report without its permission.

"Petitioner has lost faith in the commission of inquiry (COI), particularly in the chairman, and in case the said commission is allowed to proceed with the inquiry, it is sure to indict the law abiding and innocent CRPF troops," the petition filed by Special Director General CRPF (J&K) and Inspector General (Operations) CRPF-Kashmir had said.

The petitioners also annexed photocopies of some news reports and pleaded that they have reasonable apprehension that the chairman of commission has a "biased and prejudiced mind and hence a fair impartial enquiry cannot be expected from him."

As per the annexed reports, Justice Ahmad on July 30 had said, "Our report will be based on statements of witnesses, circumstantial evidences. But it is mandatory that people who have direct and indirect information regarding the killings should cooperate and help us to lead towards the truth."

The court also asked the commission to provide copies of the statements and the material on the basis of which notices have been issued to the CRPF within a period of two weeks and proceed in the matter only after the material is provided to the petitioners.

However, sources in the commission said the CRPF has not been provided the copies of the evidence so far.

The CRPF moved the high court after the police reports on the incidents of killings under probe had absolved the state police personnel of any wrongdoing, thereby pointing fingers at paramilitary personnel in some cases.

The terms of reference of the commission include inquiring into circumstances leading to deaths by firing or otherwise into the 17 incidents, fixing responsibility wherever excessive force was used resulting in fatalities, suggest measures to stop such incidents in future and recommend punishment to those found guilty.