‘Hero’ of Shopian agitation booked for 'attempted murder'
Wife Shobi Jan narrates to judge how Shakeel Ahangar sprinkled kerosene oil on her to burn her to death
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, May 8: In a bizarre development that can turn a many faces of Kashmir's separatist movement red, Police in Shopian have booked middle-aged Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar for allegedly attempting to burn his second wife to death. In 2009, Ahangar had virtually set the Valley on fire with his allegation that Police and security forces had "gangraped and murdered" his wife Neelofar Jan and unmarried sister Asiya Jan. Resultant street turbulence had left half-a-dozen civilians dead and hundreds injured.Superintendent of Police in Shopian Altaf Khan confirmed that Ahangar had been booked in a matter of attempted murder on his second wife Shobi Jan’s written complaint in case FIR No: 67/2015 under sections 498-A, 323, 354, 342, 307 of Rabir Penal Code. He said that the investigation was underway and the accused could be arrested at an appropriate time.
According to Shobi Jan’s complaint dated May 5, 2015, filed with Police Station Shopian, Shakeel Ahangar, alongwith Manzoor Ahmad Ahangar and Auqib Ahangar sons of Abdul Gani Ahangar and Roomi Jan daughter of Abdul Gani Ahangar, subjected her to immense physical and mental torture on account of her parents' failure to carry dowry to her in-laws. Ahangar and his siblings allegedly sprinkled kerosene oil on her body during the night of May 4th and attempted to burn her to death.
After a preliminary verification, Police filed FIR No: 67 with charge of attemted murder against Ahangar and the other accused persons. After the spot inspection, Police prepared a site plan and got the complainant’s statement recorded before a judicial magistrate under section 161 and 164 of Criminal Procedure Code. Shobi Jan narrated to the judge how Ahangar tried to kill her by sprinkling kerosene oil on her body. Her clothes were seized, sealed and resealed before the Executive Magistrate Ist Class Shopian for FSL examination.
Sources privy to the investigation revealed to State Times that Ahangar and his family members could be arrested any time in the next 24 hours. Senior separatist leader Shabir Shah's visit to Shopian on Friday deferred Ahangar’s arrest for a day.
Shakeel Ahangar shot into prominence in May 2009 when his wife Neelofar and sister Asiya were found dead in mysterious circumstances in Rambiara Nallah and he complained that the duo had been "kidnapped and subjected to gangrape by Police and security forces before the two young women were murdered”.
Ahangar’s allegations triggered off a massive street turbulence across the Valley, leading to torching of properties, shutdown for several weeks, violent clashes between the Police and demonstrators. Over six civilians died in the Police firing.
While the Valley observed bandh on calls of Majlis-e-Mashawarat Shopian and separatist leaders for several days, Shopian district headquarters remained shut down for business for about a month. After some investigation by Police and an inquiry by retired judge of J&K High Court, Muzaffar Ahmad Jan, the investigation was assigned to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The demonstrations led to the arrest and suspension of four Police officials including then S.P. of Shopian Javed Iqbal Matoo.
Omar Abdullah’s government hired the country's most expensive lawyer Harish Salve only to ensure that the detained Police officials did not get bail from any court of law. Interestingly, it was for the first time that Advocate General, other government advocates, Kashmir's separatist Bar Association and Mr Salve were on one page to block the deatainees' release on bail. Government had apprehension of a worse law and order situation if the accused Police officials were released.
Even as Ahangar, residents of Shopian, separatist leaders as well as some mainstream politicians, notably the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, maintained in one voice that Police and security forces had committed rape and murder of the two women, CBI established in three-month-long investigation that they had been neither raped nor murdered. It concluded that Neelofar and Asiya had died by drowning in Rambiara while returning from their orchard in the evening. After exhumation of the bodies, it was established that the unmarried woman’s hymen was intact and she or her sister-in-law had not been subjected to any physical violence.
Giving clean chit to Javed Matoo and other detainees, CBI filed a voluminous charge-sheet against 13 persons, including 11 Shopian-based lawyers and doctors, for hatching up a conspiracy and trying to frame innocent Police officials in a false criminal case for ulterior motives. The case is under hearing with a CBI designated court in Srinagar.