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10-14-2010, 04:55 AM
Jammu & Kashmir: Torture deaths missing from official count


Srinagar, J & K, India, (Greater Kashmir): The deaths of youth in alleged [Indian] police torture are missing from the official death count in the ongoing unrest in the state.

The names of Umar Qayoom of Soura and Syed Farakh Bukhari of Kreeri who were tortured to death allegedly by police are not figuring in the three written replies furnished by the government in response to queries of legislators about civilian killings over past four months.

Though official statistics about civilian killings vary, but their omission suggests that state government doesn’t acknowledge these killings, either to downplay the figures or save the skin of the policemen blamed for these deaths.

Seventeen-year-old Umar Qayoom Bhat of Soura died in SKIMS on August 25, after being tortured in police lock-up. His medical report clearly shows that deceased died to blunt trauma and diffused intrapulmonary haemorrhage.

His family approached court and after its directive, police started investigations in the case, shockingly, as ‘mysterious death.’ Fifty days have passed after his death but police investigation has made no headway.

Omar was picked up by police on August 20 along with two other youth, Amir Bashir Shiekh and Irshad Ahmed Bhat.

According to his family, Omar was released on August 21 evening after severe torture. They took him to hospital next day, but blood started oozing out of his mouth profusely. Omar was taken to hospital again on August 23 where he succumbed to his injuries on August 25.

Similarly, 19-year-old Syed Farakh Bukhari of Kreeri, Varmul, was allegedly picked up by police along with 39 other protesters at Choora Sangrama on July 28. His body was recovered on August 10 in a rivulet near police station.

Student of first year Mass Communication and Journalism in Varmul College, Farakh was bundled in a police vehicle in front of several people, but still police denied his arrest.

After the body was recovered with visible torture marks, police registered a murder case against “unknown persons.”

His death sparked massive protests in the area and several protesters were wounded in the police action.

The families of the torture victims see omission of their names as a cover up to what they term cold blooded murders.

“My son was killed in cold blood by police and the medical report establishes it. The government is on a systematic pattern to hush up the case and misleading investigation by police is part of it. I appeal the President of India to intervene and deliver justice to our family by punishing the culprits,” said Abdul Qayoom Bhat, Omar’s father.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Varmul, Bashir Ahmed Bhat, said he has forwarded Farakh’s name to the government.

Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Mehraj Ahmed Kakroo and Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar didn’t pick up the phone from Greater Kashmir despite repeated attempts.