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Shopian case: Four policemen suspended

By Mukhtar Ahmad
June 22, 2009 20:36 IST
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The Jammu and Kashmir government suspended four police officers and an official of the forensic science laboratory (FSL) in the rape-and-murder of the two young women in Shopian town.

The suspension of Javed Iqbal Mattoo, the then district police chief Shopian, deputy superintendent of police, Rohit Baskotra, Station House Officer (SHO) Shafeeq Ahmad, sub-inspector Qazi Abdul Karim and Javed Iqbal Hafiz, scientific officer FSL comes in the wake of the interim report submitted by the one-man commission of inquiry appointed by the state chief minister, Omar Abdullah early this month.

The interim report submitted by Justice (Retd) Muzaffar Jan to the state government late last evening indicted the officers with 'dereliction of duty' and 'destruction of evidence' in the rape and murder of 17-year old Asiya Jan and her 22-year old pregnant sister-in-law Neelofar Jan on May 30.

The 300-page interim report was submitted by Justice Jan heading the commission late last evening to the state government.

Mattoo had been transferred out of Shopian by the state government a fortnight ago, which evoked sharp criticism from opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the locals of Shopian.

In his interim report, Justice Muzaffar Jan has found the south Kashmir Shopian district administration guilty of 'destroying vital evidence, not preserving the scene of crime, interfering with post-mortem report and dereliction of duty'.

"Because of the negligence of the authorities, civil administration, including doctors and police involved in the handling of the incident, vital evidence which could have easily helped in nabbing the culprits were destroyed and lost," the report which has devoted 70 pages on the lapses on the part of the local administration said.

The report said the police and civil administration had 'failed to secure the spot and surrounding the areas where the bodies of the two women were found.'

In his report the judge has confirmed that 17-year old Asiya Jan and her pregnant 22-year old sister-in-law Neelofar Jan were raped and then murdered.

The incident triggered an unprecedented public outcry across the valley forcing the state administration to lodge an FIR (First Information Report) for rape and murder in the Shopian police station.

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Mukhtar Ahmad