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Police torture cripples SPOs, one killed

Police torture cripples SPOs, one killed

Hindustan Times
March 29, 2000
Title: Police torture cripples SPOs, one killed
Publication: Hindustan Times, HT Correspondent
Date: March 29, 2000

A JUNIOR police official and his associates are believed to have unleashed a reign of terror on seven men for seven days.  The men had apparently helped the Army fight militancy.

Seven men, belonging to a particular community, were rounded up on charges of theft but instead of being taken to the police station, they were reportedly illegally detained and tortured.  Retribution allegedly ranged from peeling of skin to sucking of human blood, throwing kerosene, castration and much else.

This punishment for helping counter-insurgency forces was inflicted in a village in Doda district less than a fortnight ago and it haunts the victims even today. While one of them is dead, the others are battling for their lives.

Five of the victims were working as special police officers (SPOs) with Delta Force of Rashtriya Rifles that is leading the anti-militancy operations in Doda district in the Pirpanjal Range of the Himalayas.  The SPOs are recruited by the security forces to serve as local guides.

When senior grade constable Showkat Ali led a party to investigate a case of burglary in the house of Ashraf Hussain of Amritgarh village, his intentions were clear from the outset.  Though the FIR had named no suspects, he reportedly conducted raids on the houses of seven persons:  Daya Krishan, Om Prakash, Vipin Lal, Mohinder Singh and Anar Singh (all SPOs), Nain Bhat and Uttam Singh.

The hapless seven are said to have been rounded up and taken to a remote corner of Amritgarh village where they were confined for seven days before being taken to the Kraraa police station.

It was during this period - from March 8 to March 14 - that the seven members of a particular community were allegedly subjected to barbaric torture.  Daya Krishan, who was castrated, died.  Showkat Ali and his associates, in a gory display of cannibalism, even ate the dismembered body parts of Daya Krishan. The six others are in a critical condition.

The policeman and five others - Abdul Rashid, Khurshid, Abdul Razak, Mohammad Shafi and Mohammad Ayub - have been arrested.  Further investigation against them is in progress.  This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Mushtaq Ahmad Lone in a statement in the State Legislative Council where this issue was first raised by sole BJP member Daya Krishan Kotwal on Tuesday.  Interestingly, Mohammad Ayub and Abdul Rashid were also SPOs.

Om Prakash, who is under treatment in the Government Medical College hospital, told mediapersons that the nightmare continued unceasingly for seven days. ?Sometimes Showkat would beat us, then he peeled off Daya Krishan?s skin and then castrated him.?  He said the police official would suck the blood of the victims after inflicting wounds.  He would then "hurl abuses at us and say ?call your Army jawans whom you help against the Mujahideen.?  There was no mercy shown to us.?

Two of the victims, Mohinder Singh and Anar Singh, were reportedly let off on March 13 after their relatives paid a bribe of Rs 8,000 to Showkat Ali, a fact that was admitted by the Home Minister in his statement in the House as well. The release of the rest of them came when the locals sought the Army?s help. The incident has sent shock waves throughout the state.

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