On June 22, the Jammu and Kashmir administration terminated the services of two doctors who were allegedly involved in working with Pakistan-based groups and fabricating evidence in the 2009 “Shopian rape-murder” case, according to officials.
In 2009, two women named Asiya Jan and Neelofar were found dead in a stream in Shopian, leading to accusations that they had been raped and murdered by security personnel. The incident caused widespread protests in Kashmir, resulting in a nearly 42-day standstill.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) later took over the investigation and concluded that the women had not been raped or murdered.
The two doctors, Dr. Bilal Ahmad Dalal and Dr. Nighat Shaheen Chilloo, have been dismissed from their positions for actively collaborating with Pakistan and conspiring with its assets in Kashmir to falsify the post-mortem report of Asiya Jan and Neelofar of Shopian.
The officials stated that their ultimate goal was to create discontent against the Indian state by falsely accusing security forces of rape and murder.
The CBI has charged the two doctors with fabricating evidence and distorting the accidental drowning deaths as rape and murder. Dr. Dalal conducted the first autopsy, while Dr. Chilloo was part of the second team of doctors involved in the post-mortem examination.
In a grave violation of medical ethics, Dr. Chilloo allegedly took her own vaginal swab and presented it as evidence from Asiya Jan, whom she claimed had been raped and murdered. However, an AIIMS forensic team exhumed the bodies and found that Asiya Jan’s hymen was intact, as documented in the CBI charge sheet.
In December 2009, the CBI concluded that neither rape nor murder had occurred in this case. The agency filed a charge sheet against six doctors, five lawyers, and two civilians, including the brother of one of the deceased women, for fabricating evidence. Five police officials were arrested, and two senior police officials were transferred in connection with the case and subsequent protests.
The CBI report stated that the 13 individuals involved had conspired to incite public anger against the security forces. Since no rape or murder had taken place, the report concluded that there was no case. It revealed how lawyers and some family members had coerced two individuals into becoming witnesses.
The CBI report rejected the theory put forth by Majlis-s-Maashwarat, an amalgamation of separatist groups that spearheaded the agitation in Shopian, claiming that the two women had been abducted, raped, and murdered while in their orchard on May 29, 2009. According to the CBI, the women drowned while attempting to cross the river.
AIIMS doctors, who conducted the post-mortem examination on the exhumed bodies, found the presence of the same diatoms (algae) in the lungs as those found in the area where the bodies were discovered.
The CBI investigation revealed that both teams of doctors had provided false information in their post-mortem reports. The first team claimed that Asiya Jan died due to cardiovascular arrest, while Neelofar died due to neurogenic shock. The second team from Pulwama alleged that Asiya Jan had been sexually assaulted and died from hemorrhage and shock caused by multiple injuries, while Neelofar had died due to neurogenic shock following sexual intercourse.
The CBI report cited the medical opinion of AIIMS doctors, who conclusively stated that the deaths occurred due to asphyxia resulting from antemortem drowning. It also emphasized that the lacerated wound on Asiya Jan’s forehead was not sufficient to cause death.