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Shopian Killings: No faith in judiciary, slain civilians’ families refuse to lodge complaint

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Shopian, Mar 09: Families of four civilians killed at Shopian have not lodging any formal complaint as they consider the judiciary “biased and not for the people of Kashmir”.
Four civilians—Mohammad Shahid Khan (20), Suhail Khalil Wagay (22), Shahnawaz Ahmad Wagay (23) and Gowhar Ahmad Lone (24)—were killed by the government forces near Shopian’s Pahnoo village on Sunday.
The army, in its first two statements, had termed the slain civilians over ground workers (OGW).
Later in a press conference, a senior army official had said, “No doubt they (locals) were civilians, but investigations will reveal their role with militants.”
The families of the four deceased youths believe that the “investigation will go nowhere”, same as the several other cases of civilian killings in Kashmir did.
“You are talking about justice? What happened to those three civilians?” said Manzoor Ahmad, a family member of Suhail, citing the incident of Shopian’s Gawonpora village, where three civilians were shot dead by the army in January.
“Aasiya and Neelofer, our two little angels, were raped, murdered and thrown away to die. Nine years have passed since, what about them? What happened to that case and investigation?” he further questioned.
Manzoor said that he “openly challenges” the police and the army to bring any “valid evidence” to prove that Suhail was an OGW or a militant’s associate.
“How easily they termed him an OGW just to hide their wrongdoings. They have seized Suhail’s mobile, right? Go, ask them to check and bring any proof against him? This is my open challenge,” he said.
He said, “Neither the families is going to lodge an FIR, nor do they expect a judicial probe.”
Another relative, Mohammad Yaseen, sitting next to Manzoor, said, “If Suhail was an OGW, why didn’t they arrest him instead of killing him?”
“One of the best armies in the world isn’t smart enough to catch an OGW, investigate, and catch a few more? Whom are they fooling?” Yaseen said.
“There are thousands of Suhails who have died in the past. None of them got justice, nor will he. The people of Kashmir, especially Shopian, are now used to these killings.”
Similarly, Bashir Ahmad, maternal uncle of Gowhar, too, believes that his nephew’s case of army killing will get overlooked like many others.
“I am going to meet the SHO, pull his collar, and I am going to question him the killing of my nephew. He will push me back, maybe abuse me, and that is it. What more will happen?” he said. “The people of Kashmir have forgotten the meaning of justice.”
If Gowhar was an OGW, Bashir questioned, “Why the police hasn’t even once in the past come to our place and informed us about it?”
“We have just accepted Gowhar’s death, and we expect nothing.”
Farooq Ahmad, the elder brother of Shahnawaz, blamed the police for “shielding army’s mistakes and supporting civilian killings”.
“The local police here are the biggest traitors. And whom shall we go to for filing a complaint?” he said. “To someone who has played an equal role in the killing of my brother?”
Farooq believes that they would be offered money to shut their mouths if they would raise voice against the killing of Shahnawaz.
“No one wants their money. Nothing will back my elder brother back to me. We have lost the faith in the system, and innocent killings will go on until we are not set free,” he said.
Mohsin Khan, Shahid’s elder brother, too, denied filing any official complaint.
Citing the Supreme Court’s stay on Major Aditya, against whom an FIR was filed by the local police for the killing of three civilians in Shopian in January, Mohsin said, “That answer as to why I do not want to file a complaint.”
“Killing innocent locals in Kashmir has become a norm, and will continue to be, unless India doesn’t set us free.”