Central & South Asia
Police charged over Kashmir murder
Seven police are accused of staging gun battles and falsely claiming rewards.
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2007 14:56 GMT

Bodies of five suspected victims of staged police
gun battles have been exhumed in Kashmir  [AFP]

Seven Indian policemen have been charged with murdering a civilian and claiming he was an armed separatist, police say.
The charges against the men were the first brought against any police officers for targeting civilians since the start of a separatist uprising that has left 68,000 people dead in Indian-administered Kashmir since 1989.
Farooq Ahmed, the senior police officer heading the investigation, said on Wednesday: "The accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy, abduction, murder and destruction of evidence."
The authorities earlier this year began investigating reports that police had been killing civilians in staged gun battles and then saying those slain were fighters so that they could claim substantial rewards and earn promotions.
Residents in the predominantly Muslim territory, where anti-India sentiment runs deep, have for years complained that civilians were being killed by the security forces.
Seven charged
The officers charged on Tuesday were allegedly involved in the death of Abdur Rahman Padder, a 35-year-old carpenter, who disappeared from Srinagar, the Himalayan region's main city, on December 8.
Kashmiris have long complained that security
forces often kill innocent civilians [AFP]
He was allegedly killed by police later that evening.
At the time, police identified Padder as Abu Hafiz of Pakistan and said he was a member of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, one of the main armed, separatist Muslim groups in Kashmir.
Officials maintained that he had been killed in a shootout with officers in the small town of Ganderbal, about 20km northeast of Srinagar, and that an assault rifle and grenade had been recovered from his body.
Missing mobile
Soon afterwards, Padder's father filed a missing person's report, and officers investigating the case traced the dead man's missing mobile to a police officer.
The authorities then exhumed Padder's body and used DNA tests to confirm his identity, casting doubt on the official account of his death.
Since the revelations surrounding Padder's death have become public, the bodies of at least four other civilians believed to have been killed in similar circumstances have been exhumed.
The results of those investigations are still pending.
The policemen charged in connection with Padder's death include two senior officers.
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