DATE=8/17/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=KASHMIR CUSTODIAL KILLINGS NUMBER=5-46868 BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=SRINAGAR CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Over the past decade, an estimated 30-thousand people have died as a result of the separatist insurgency in India's state of Jammu and Kashmir. According to human rights activists, among the dead have been many innocent victims killed by both Indian security forces and militant separatists. On a recent visit to Kashmir V-O-A's Jim Teeple looked into one such case. TEXT: According to his family and friends, Rafiq Baqual never had a chance. One of three brothers who run a popular novelty shop in Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Rafiq Baqual was returning from a wedding party late one night in early June when he was stopped by Indian paramilitary forces just a short distance from where he lived in Srinagar's old city. That was the last time anyone saw Rafiq Baqual alive. Hours later his bruised and bullet-riddled body was turned over to his family. Rafiq's older brother, Sadiq says the family is still grieving, but it also wants justice. // INSERT SADIQ ACTUALITY // We want justice we want the murderer punished - he should be brought before the court of the law - but they have not done anything so far. // END ACTUALITY // // OPT // Rafiq Baqual is just one of thousands who have died over the past ten years in Kashmir. But unlike most of those who have died, Rafiq Baqual, a husband and father of three young children, had no connection with the insurgency in Kashmir. // END OPT // Pervez Imroz, a local human-rights lawyer says Rafiq Baqual's case is not all that unusual - deaths in police custody he says number in the thousands. But he says most cases take place in the countryside far from examination by the press or human rights lawyers. // IMROZ ACTUALITY // It is a common practice here - if you see the rate of extrajudicial executions here - the way they are being carried out by the security forces. But what is unusual in this case is that it happened in the heart of the city - just 50 meters away from my residence and this office. So this case can indicate how the security forces operate in remote areas. This killing took place just a half-furlong from the press enclave - so this indicates how the security forces would behave in far-flung areas beyond the searchlights of the press and the human rights organizations. // END ACTUALITY // So who killed Rafiq Baqual? The killer has been identified by his family and by local authorities as a neighborhood commander in India's Border Security Force that is responsible for maintaining security along India's borders, as well as in strife-torn areas like Kashmir. Vijay Kumar is the local commander of the Border Security Force in Kashmir. He like other senior officials in Kashmir admits Rafiq Baqual was an innocent and he says Rafiq Baqal's killer will be put on trial - in a military court. Vijay Kumar says his forces are in a difficult position - caught between extremist militants bent on killing as many Indian troops as possible, and a population numbed by years of conflict. The Border Security Force Commander says policing anywhere is difficult, but in Kashmir it is especially so. // KUMAR ACTUALITY // Any policeman - even one beloved by his own community - is basically doing an oppressive job - he is either stopping a man - regulating a man - or directing a man - even a traffic cop does that. So every member of society at one point of time or the other would have come into the wrong end of policing. So if that is the normal quality of policing, you can imagine a paramilitary police has got to be at a higher level because they have to tackle the militants. Of course they will be causing a certain level of inconvenience, they will be reducing the level of facilitation to the public. I do admit there is a general level of inconvenience and that we are not apologetic at times, but we do take care to be courteous to the normal neutral public, which I know is the predominant group here. // END ACTUALITY // Senior officials in Kashmir have arranged for Rafiq Baqual's immediate family to receive compensation for his wrongful death. But Rafiq Baqual's family says that is not enough. They want his alleged murderer tried in a civilian criminal court, saying the killing was carried out for money and had nothing to do with the political situation in Kashmir. So far authorities say they will proceed with the case - but only in a military court. Human rights advocates say Rafiq Baqual's killer probably will be punished with a transfer or a demotion - but that is all the justice Rafiq Baqal's family can probably expect. (Signed) NEB/JLT/FC 17-Aug-2000 10:28 AM EDT (17-Aug-2000 1428 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .