Machhil Deaths: Commanding Officer Attached4 June 2010
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: Taking stern action on the alleged fake encounter in the Machhil sector ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir or Monday, the Army has attached the Commanding Officer of 4 Rajput Rifles, the unit which carried out the operation, for inquiry. Another officer, identified as Major Upinder and named as the main accused in the police complaint, has also been removed from active duty pending the inquiry. The Army had ordered the inquiry after receiving a report from the police that names the Major as an accused and says that he entered into a criminal conspiracy with some locals and kidnapped the three youth by promising to give them jobs. The police inquiry relies heavily on the statement of Abbas Hussain Shah, a jawan of the 161 Battalion of the Territorial Army in Baramulla, who told investigators about the involvement of the Major. In a departure from norms, the Army had last month initiated a probe to discern whether the three youths from Baramulla were killed in a false encounter on the LoC on May 12. The Army probe was ordered after uproar in Barumulla following the killing of the youth. While the Army has ordered inquiries against serving officers in the past on charges of human rights violation, this case seems to be more serious. Army Chief General VK Singh has also made it clear that human rights violation would be taken with the utmost seriousness and there would be no room for error. The Army inquiry is being headed by the officer who holds the rank of General Officer Commanding and is assisted by two other senior officers. Sources said soon after J&K Police informed the Army about involvement of some officers of the unit in the killings, the Commanding Officer was asked to stay back in the Valley to help the Army investigators. Sources said CO was about to leave to join his unit posted in Meerut. Sources said the officer heading the inquiry has been asked to speed up the process and submit a report to the Defence Ministry for action against the guilty officials.