Army orders court martial of 6 men in Machil encounter case
Jammu, December 25
“The Army has ordered disciplinary proceedings against the accused personnel of the Army units involved in the 2010 alleged Machil fake encounter case.
“A detailed and exhaustive inquiry was conducted into the incident and alleged wrongdoings committed by the personnel concerned,” said Defence Ministry’s Northern Command spokesperson Lt Col Rajesh Kalia.
Sources said those who will face proceedings include Commanding Officer (CO) of 4 Rajput Regiment Col DK Pathania, Major Upinder and four others.
“After a detailed scrutiny of the incident and wrongdoings committed by the personnel concerned, the Army has ordered court martial proceedings to take the legal process to a logical conclusion, highlighting the Army’s resolve to ensure speedy justice,” the spokesperson said.
A senior Army officer of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps said: “By ordering court martial proceedings, the Army has reiterated its stand that no one is above the law when it comes to human rights and ethics.”
On April 30, 2010, the Army had claimed that it had gunned down three Pakistani infiltrators (terrorists) in the Machil sector along the Line of Control.
But those killed were later identified as Mohammed Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed, all residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district. The three were allegedly lured to a border area and shot dead.
“The truth is yet to come out but the incident certainly acted as a trigger in Kashmir,” said a senior Army officer. He said the orders for the court martial proceedings were issued from the Army headquarters in Delhi.
“Keeping in mind the convenience of witnesses and smooth trial of the case, a court martial board is likely to be set up in Srinagar,” he said.
The officer further said if the charges were proved, the six Army men may get exemplary punishment in the form of life imprisonment or termination from service. The military court can award both penalties simultaneously, he added.
After the incident, complaints from relatives of the victims had compelled the police to arrest a Territorial Army jawan and two others but by then the protests had engulfed the entire Valley.
The subsequent killing of Tufail Ahmed Mattoo (17), who was hit by a smoke shell in Srinagar on June 11in 2010, set off a vicious cycle of violent street protests in Kashmir, causing over 120 deaths in stone-pelting incidents from May to September, 2010.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police had in July 2010 filed a charge-sheet against an Army Colonel, a Major and seven others in the case.
Col DK Pathania, Maj Upinder and four others of the unit besides a Territorial Army jawan and two others were named in the charge-sheet accusing them of conspiring and kidnapping three youths from Sopore on the pretext of providing jobs and later killing them in the higher reaches of Kupwara.
The charge-sheet was filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sopore. The police had arrested three persons —TA jawan Abbas Shah, Basharat Lone and Abdul Hamid Bhat — for their alleged involvement in the case.
Triggered violence in J-K
NC welcomes decision
The ruling NC has welcomed the Army order against its men. “It is a welcome step but we strongly feel the proceedings and the results be made transparent so that there is no scope for any allegation or feeling of a cover-up,” said party leader Tanvir
The ruling NC has welcomed the Army order against its men. “It is a welcome step but we strongly feel the proceedings and the results be made transparent so that there is no scope for any allegation or feeling of a cover-up,” said party leader Tanvir Sadiq.