2006 Doodhipora killing

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The Doodhipora killing refers to an incident on February 22, 2006 where four residents of Doodhipora Village, Kupwara district, Jammu and Kashmir[1] were killed by troops from the 33rd Rashtriya Rifles of the Indian Armed Forces.

Incident[edit]

On the afternoon of February 22, 2006, the Rashtriya Rifles counter-insurgency armed forces of the Indian army received reports of a militant Lashkar-e-Taiba presence in the village of Doodhipora. A patrol team led by Captain Nitin Dutta began a search operation.[2] Local resident Abdul Samad Mir (age 24) was detained as a militant guide. He had previously been incarcerated and was released on the accusation of being a covert Lashkar operative.[2] At 12:50, the militants opened fire on the troops who then returned fire. Two army personnel were injured in the exchange of fire, but Abdul Samad Mir and three residents of Doodhipura who had been playing cricket in a nearby field were shot in the crossfire. Mir, Ghulam Hassan Bhat (age 18) and Shakir Ahmed Wani (age 8) died instantly. Amir Ahmad Hajan (age 9) died later from his injuries on the way to the hospital.[1][3]

Protest[edit]

The following day, February 23, large demonstrations were held in Handwara. Police opened fire and used "burst" smoke shells and a lathi charge to disperse the demonstrators. Over 15 people were injured. Police had arrested senior separatist leaders Mohammad Yasin Malik, Chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), and Shabir Ahmad Shah, Chairman of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) while on their way to Doodhipora.[4]

Probe[edit]

Shortly after the incident, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad ordered a judicial probe and assured the public that the killers would be brought to justice. Police registered an FIR complaint on June 22 under Section 302 IPC against the army unit involved. The government also issued Order No. 3185-LD (A) of 2006, announcing a judicial inquiry into the incident under inquiry officer Syed Tariq Ahmed Naqashbandi. At least 24 villagers, including eighth class students, had protested against him previously. The probe came to an abrupt halt after the immediate retirement of Naqashbandi.

On May 12, a newly appointed inquiry officer, Justice Muhammad Nazir Fida, was informed that the proceedings conducted by his predecessor revealed that the army’s non-cooperation had delayed the inquiry.[3] On the basis of the available evidence, it appeared improbable that Captain Datta or his troops fired with the intent to kill Abdul Samad Mir, since they would have been unlikely to do so in an open area with so many witnesses.[2]

Aftermath[edit]

Following a hearing on the case on December 3, 2006, the inquiry officer re-scheduled the hearing for February 10, 2007 before district sessions judge Syed Tariq Ahmed Naqshbandi.[3] The personnel of the 33rd Rashtriya Rifles did not appear before the court in either hearing.

On January 28, 2007, the government provided an extension regarding the inquiry into the Doodhipora firing tragedy. By February 26, Mushtaq A Shah, the chief prosecuting officer probing the Doodhipora incident, had recorded the statements of the relatives of the four civilians who were killed and issued a summons to SP Handwara. The counsel mentioned that the army was intimidating the eyewitnesses forbidding them from making statements regarding the firing incident.[citation needed] The chief prosecuting officer ordered the inquiry to be convened on February 28, 2007 and March 1, 2007 in the office chambers of the vigilance registrar located in the high court complex in Srinagar.

On October 4, Justice MY Kawoosa, chairman of the State Human Rights Commission, requested that the state government provide jobs for each family member of the deceased and directed SP Kupwara to present the findings of the report in the judicial probe in response to the affected families who had filed a complaint with his commission.

References[edit]