9 Days On, Nobody Deposes Before Magistrate8 October 2011
Srinagar: Even as nine days have passed since the death of National Conference worker, Syed Muhammad Yousuf sparked a major controversy, no one, not even the family members of the deceased, have approached the magistrate who began his probe into the case on September 30. Talking to Rising Kashmir about the progress made so far in the matter, inquiry magistrate, Muhammed Akbar Ganai said he may summon people after October 14 if nobody comes forward to depose. Ganai, who is also the Additional District Magistrate Srinagar, was appointed to hold a magisterial probe into the alleged custodial death of Yousuf soon after the incident came to light on September 30. Pertinently, under Section 176 CrPC it is mandatory to conduct magisterial inquiry if anybody dies in police custody. When, as per the government, Yousuf died due of heart attack at police hospital, he was already under the custody of Crime Branch of JK Police. “So far nobody has come forward to depose. Even nobody from the relatives has approached me. I don’t have questions to begin with. If the relatives come forward and give me a clue then I can proceed,” said Akbar. “As of now whatever is known about the incident has come from media. As an inquiry officer, I cannot fully rely on the newspaper reports, somebody has to come forward and provide information to me to proceed.” Asked if he has not issued notices to the concerned persons, the Inquiry Magistrate said, “Notices have already been issued through various newspapers. But till October 14, I am legally duty bound to hold office. As per the legal requirement, I will have to wait till October 14 for people to come forward and depose. But thereafter I am free to move out and can even summon people, whosoever he may be.” Akbar further disclosed that apart from the preliminary postmortem report, he has not received any sort of report either from the government or the doctors. “I have only received a preliminary postmortem report. For raising queries, a report is necessary,” he said, adding that he is yet to receive other medical opinions and technical reports like histopathology report, EC, Sonography etc. The final medical report is to be received from the Principal of Government Medical College from which the medical board was drawn. The preliminary postmortem report had already concluded that Yousuf died of cardio-respiratory arrest. It also said that the slain activist had no external injuries thus ruling out torture claims by the victim’s family. Apart from holding a magisterial probe, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has already stated that he is in touch with the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court for holding a probe into Yousuf’s death by a sitting judge.