J&K Fake Encounter: Colonel Removed, Major Suspended6 June 2010
Srinagar: A Colonel has been removed from his command and a Major suspended for their alleged involvement in the killing of three youths in a fake encounter in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir in April. “The Colonel has been removed from the command. The second officer [Major] has been suspended as of now and an inquiry ordered,” Lt. Gen. B S Jaiswal, chief of the Northern Command, said on Sunday. Col. D.K. Pathania, Commanding Officer of 4 Rajput Regiment, and Major Upinder of the same regiment were named as the main accused by the police in the April 30 Machil encounter case. The Army said that day they killed three infiltrators in the Machil sector along the Line of Control, but later claimed they were Pakistani terrorists. Mohamad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed, all residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district, were allegedly lured to the border area and shot dead. Following complaints from the victims' relatives, a Territorial Army jawan and two others were arrested. The Army ordered a probe into the killing after the police filed a report, accusing the Major of entering into a criminal conspiracy with some locals to eliminate the three youths by labelling them as terrorists. Gen. Jaiswal said, “It [inquiry] will be totally transparent and the truth will be there.... The inquiry is on. Our genuine concern is to be transparent. This is the first step. And this should be the indicator that subsequently we will be coming out with the truth.” The police inquiry relied heavily on the statement of the jawan of the 161 Battalion of the Territorial Army in Gauntmullah, Baramulla. Jawan Abbass told the investigators about the alleged involvement of Major Upinder. He was one of the three persons arrested. The Army action came after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met senior officials of the Army and police at a meeting on Sunday. He has made a strong pitch for amending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to make it more transparent.