Fast Track Probe In Machil Case, Report Sought On Forced Labor By Army9 October 2010
Srinagar: The government Saturday declared that the two-member Judicial Commission headed by Justice (Retd) Syed Bashirudin will probe only 17 deaths that have taken place since June 11. It also maintained that investigations in Machil fake encounter case would be expedited. The government also stated that army has been asked to submit a report about the allegations of forced labour in Kashmir. In response to a question posed by MLA Kulgam, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami whether government was going to probe only 17 deaths or all deaths that took place since June 11, law and parliamentary affairs minister Ali Muhammad Sagar said, “The government has formed a Judicial Commission to probe 17 deaths since June 11. We want fool-proof investigations. Let the report of these cases come first.” Tarigami, however, stressed that families of those killed in the recent unrest wanted to know why their loved ones were killed. “We have seen many inquiries being ordered since 1990’s, many judicial probes and many recommendations,” he said. The law minister responded by saying that the District Magistrate Islamabad had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the firing incident at S K Colony, Anchidora on July 29 resulting in the death of three youth. “The government has accepted the inquiry report. On the basis of the recommendations of the inquiry officer, names of four police men have been added in the FIR. The then Station House Officer has been placed under suspension and disciplinary proceedings have already been initiated against him,” Sagar said. He said the government has also appointed Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as inquiry officer to probe the firing incident at Mendhar, Poonch in which three persons were killed. “FIR has also been lodged against the erring police officials,” he said. Meanwhile, independent MLA from Langate, Sheikh Abdul Rashid raised a supplementary whether the government would provide any compensation to the families of those killed in Machil fake encounter. In response, Sagar said an FIR was already lodged against the army. “Defence Minister has already stated those involved in the Machil fake encounter won’t be shielded,” he said. Asked whether the government would try to expedite the investigations to seek arrest of an army major involved in the incident, the Law minister said, “Of course, why not.” Rashid also raised a query whether it was a fact that according to a police report CID-HR-SHRC-181-2010 dated 23-30-2010, the locals of Mawar area, Langate were subjected to forced labour by army for 13 years since 1990. “People of at least 50 villages were used as forced labour by the army,” he alleged. Replying to the query, Sagar said with the onset of militancy in 1990, the help of forces was sought to combat militancy. “As the forces were not aware of topography of the areas, they sought assistance of locals. There were some complaints that the forces used to take some locals of the area for night patrolling and other duties. The matter is being looked into”. He said the government has sought a report from Srinagar-based GoC 15 Corps about the matter.