The Supreme Court has awarded a compensation ranging from Rs one lakh to Rs two lakh to three members of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party who were beaten up by state police during a demonstration in 2007.
A bench of justices A K Sikri and R K Agrawal awarded a compensation of Rs two lakh to Anita Thakur, a general secretary of the party, and Rs one lakh each to JKNPP’s secretary and a senior journalist, who was also its member, saying their fundamental rights had been violated due to the “police excess”.
The bench noted in its judgement that initially it was the protestors who had taken law into their hands during the protest which began peacefully but turned violent.
“On the other hand, even the police personnel continued the use of force beyond limits after they had controlled the mob. In the process, they continued their lathi charge. They continued to beat up all the three petitioners even after overpowering them. They had virtually apprehended these petitioners making them immobile,” it said.
“However, their attack on these petitioners continued even thereafter when it was not at all needed. As far as injuries suffered by these petitioners are concerned, such a situation could clearly be avoided. It is apparent that to that extent, respondents misused their power. To that extent, fundamental right of the petitioners, due to police excess, has been violated,” the bench said.
The three petitioners had told the apex court that they had planned to take out a peaceful protest march up to Delhi for ventilating their grievances and, when they reached near Katra, they were assaulted by Jammu and Kashmir Police on August 7, 2007.
According to the petitioners, the march up to Delhi was for highlighting the grievances of Jammu migrants, who were forced to leave their homes between 1996 and 1999 due to the terrorist attacks.
They said they reached Katra to speak with the authorities concerned regarding the plight of the migrants and had a discussion with the officials about the peaceful march.
The petitioners alleged that after the march resumed, around 500 policemen blocked the bridge, which migrants were about to cross, and attacked them with ‘lathis’ and lobbed teargas shells.
They said when they approached the police and asked them