SIT expects 'breakthrough' in Shopian case soon

24 June 2009
The Daily Excelsior
Inayat Jehangir

Srinagar: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by Director General of Police (DGP) to investigate the rape and murder of two women in Shopian district last month is expecting a 'break through' very soon in the case as it has got some important witnesses who can be vital in nailing the culprits. The SIT headed by Superintendent of Police Shah Din Malik submitted a status report and case diary about the investigations into the rape and murder of Neelofar Jan and her 18-year-old sister-in-law Asiya Jan to the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Shopian today, authoritative sources said. The sources said the SIT informed the court that it will soon achieve a 'break through' in the case of rape and murder of the two women as it has got important witnesses with them whose deposition can help in identifying and arresting the culprits. The sources said CJM was satisfied with the report submitted by the SIT and directed the team to submit another report along with case diaries on June 30. DGP Kuldeep Khuda on June 8 had constituted a three-member SIT comprising Shah-Din Malik as Incharge of the team, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mushtaq Ahmad Shah and Senior Prosecuting Officer in Crime Branch Kashmir Najeeb Hussain Nahvi. In related developments, Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar, husband of Neelofar and brother of Asiya, has filed a petition before CJM Shopian pleading that the five police officers suspended by the Government two days ago should be made accused in the case FIR as recommended by the one-man Judicial Commission of Justice (retired) Muzaffar Jan. Justice Muzaffar Jan, in his interim report submitted to Government on Sunday, had recommended suspension of then Superintendent of Police Shopian Javid Iqbal Mattoo, Dy SP Rohit Baskotra, SHO Shafiq Ahmad, Sub-inspector Gazi Abdul Karim and Scientific Officer of the Forensic Science Laboratory Javid Iqbal Hafiz for lapses committed in the conduct of the case which led to destruction of vital evidence. The Government accepted the recommendations of the Commission and suspended the five officials and ordered departmental inquiry against them. However, in the case of the Scientific Officer of FSL, the Commission had recommended prosecution for suppression of evidence which had hampered in the investigation into the case. The court issued notices to the respondents and directed them to file objections by June 30 when the case will come up for hearing. The Bar Association Shopian has also filed an application in the CJM court seeking directions to the Government for subjecting the suspects in the rape and murder case of the two women to narco-analysis test. Meanwhile, the continuous protests in Shopian town and adjacent areas is hampering the functioning of the judicial and police officers who are investigating the case. 'We are not able to move around freely as there are blockades almost every 100 metres. We are as much concerned with finding the truth as much as the people are and they should cooperate with us in this regard,' a senior official said on the condition of anonymity. He said while the anger of the people was understandable, the ongoing agitation will only lead to delay in investigations as many potential witnesses are not able to record their statements. Shopian town had been in protest mode since May 30 when the bodies of Neelofar and Asiya were recovered from a stream. The local coordination committee issued an ultimatum to the Government to arrest the culprits by June 29 or face a violent agitation. 'If the Government fails to arrest the culprits by June 29, whatever happens thereafter will entirely be the responsibility of the State Government,' the committee has said.