19 guilty BSF men can't be tried again: CBI

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 1/6/2019 1:09:04 PM

SRINAGAR, Jan 5: CBI has told the State Human Rights Commission( SHRC) that 19 BSF officials found guilty by a court of inquiry in 1993 Sopore encounter cannot be tried again.
More than 53 civilians were killed in BSF action.
CBI in its report to SHRC has said that all the accused personnel who were found guilty during the court of inquiry (CoI) were tried by the general security forces' court and awarded sentence. The report also reads that as per law, no one once tried can be punished twice for the same offences as the same will amount to “double jeopardy.”
The reply filed by the CBI comes in response to the petition filed by the Chairman International Forum For Justice And Human Rights (IFJHR) Mohammad Ahsan Untoo.
The report submitted by the CBI reads that a staff court of inquiry was conducted by the BSF in the firing incident on January 6, 1993 in which 19 BSF personnel were blamed for various acts of commissions and omissions.
“Constable Mohan Singh was dismissed from the service by his unit on December 12, 1996 and his name too was deleted from the charge sheet.
“Thus, all the accused personnel who were found guilty during the court of inquiry and record of evidence proceedings, were tried by the general security force court under the BSF act and rules and based on the findings, the court awarded sentence to the accused persons. As per law, no one can be tried and punished twice for the same offences as the same will amount to double jeopardy,” the report reads.
The report also states that as per the human rights act, when in a matter final report has been filed under section 173, CRPC, (J&K), in the competent court and the matter is sub-judice, the jurisdiction of the commission to entertain any other complaint is not maintainable.
The petitioner in his application has stated that 77 civilians were killed by the BSF men on January 6, 1993 in Sopore while as 100 houses and 300 shops were torched.
“The BSF personnel who have been charged under section 304/307 and 436 RPC and have been convicted, the names of those convicted BSF personnel have not been communicated and were those BSF personnel have been lodged for serving their sentence,” the petitioner argued.
Meanwhile, according to a report by local news agency CNS, at least 57 innocent civilians were put to death by BSF when they went on a rampage after a militant allegedly snatched a riffle from a trooper on January 6, 1993.
Shortly after the incident, BSF troopers from 94th Battalion killed 57 civilians. People who are witness to that gruesome massacre said that the troopers dragged an SRTC bus (JKY-1901) driver out from the vehicle and pumped bullets into the bodies of passengers killing 20 of them on spot. “After killing the passengers, the troopers started spraying gun powder, petrol and kerosene on the surrounding buildings and then torched them,” the report said.
Among the 57 dead civilians, 48 died due to bullet shots and nine were burnt alive. More than 400 commercial establishments and 75 residential houses were set ablaze.
Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society Chairman and renowned human rights activist Parvez Imroz told CNS that 24 days after the massacre government set up a one man commission of inquiry on 30 January 1993 comprising of Justice Amarjeet Choudhary. “Between, 30 January 1993 and 30 April 1994, the commission visited Jammu and Kashmir only once. The government described the inquiry as a “farce” and chose not to extend the term of the commission. No report was therefore submitted by the commission. Simultaneously the CBI was tasked with the investigation in January 1993 itself and took 20 years (January 1993 to July 2013) to carry out investigations, only to seek closure of the case citing lack of evidence.”
He added that the BSF's court of inquiry was just a cover up as maximum punishment for the offences mentioned there is only three months.



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