Army Indicts 6 Soldiers In Machil Fake Encounter

Army Indicts 6 Soldiers In Machil Fake Encounter

24 December 2013
Greater Kashmir
Shabir Ibn Yusuf

Srinagar: Army has ordered Court Martial of six soldiers, including two officers, involved in the killing of three youth of Nadihal Baramulla in a fake encounter at LoC at Machil in Kupwara district of north Kashmir on April 30 in 2010. The action comes after three years of investigations. Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone and Muhammad Shafi Lone of Nadihal Baramulla were killed in the fake encounter by the accused soldiers and passed off as infiltrating militants to get promotions and awards. The police investigation found that they were killed by soldiers of 4 Rajput Regiment in a fake encounter in Machil. In July 2010, Police charge-sheeted an Army Colonel and two Majors among 11 people in connection with the fake encounter. The accused were Col D K Pathania, Major Maurya, Major Upinder, Subedar Satbir, Hawaldar Bir Singh, Sepoys Chandra Bhan, Nagendra Singh and Narendra Singh and Abbas Hussain Shah of the Territorial Army (TA) besides two civilians Basharat Lone and Abdul Hamid Bhat. Highly-placed Army sources revealed to Greater Kashmir that the Court Martial was ordered last week. “The Court Martial was ordered after the court of inquiry submitted its final report,” they said adding the Court Martial proceedings will go against six people that include two officers. Sources said the action was ordered after court of inquiry covered all the allegations based on the police report. The court of inquiry was headed by the then commander of 68 Mountain Brigade, Brigadier G S Sangah, now a Major General. “The investigators carried out the proceedings as promised. They have ascertained the role of the accused and ordered Court Martial,” sources said, adding that there was a delay because of recalling of the witnesses who were involved in the incident, as the unit was de-inducted after it completed its mandated tenure. “Hectic efforts were made to complete the court of inquiry quite recently,” they said. Army sources said that these six Army men would be given exemplary punishment. “They will most probably lose their jobs and other perks. They can be jailed also,” sources said adding that those things will get clear soon after the completion of Court Martial. “Hopefully it will take little time for completion of Court Martial of these soldiers.” Sources further said that parents and other relatives of the youth killed in the fake encounter were given fair opportunity to make their submissions during the investigations by the Army. “The step has been taken as a part of Army’s resolve towards non-tolerance for human rights violations and in pursuit of justice,” they said. The family members of youth in their statement to police had said that Bashir Ahmad Lone, a Government-gunman-turned SPO (who worked as an informer for security agencies) is involved in the disappearance of the three youth. Later police interrogated Bashir and he identified dreaded Government-gunman Fayaz Ikhwani alias Gazi of Tujjar Sharief Sopore as an co-accused. He has confessed before police that on April 26, 2010 they gave Rs 5,000 each to three boys and asked them to come next day for more money. He told police that when the youth approached the Government-gunmen Bashir and Fayaz the next day, the latter took them along and since then they were missing. During the investigations, police ascertained call records of Fayaz Ikhwani that confirmed he was in Thayen village of Kalaroos in frontier district of Kupwara when the trio was killed in Machil and the bodies were brought to Kalaroos. During the investigations the police have recorded the statements of various people, including the driver of the vehicle in which the three youths were taken from their native village of Nadihal before being gunned down in a fake encounter. After the investigations, in July 2010, police charge-sheeted an Army Colonel and two Majors among 11 people in connection with the fake encounter. The charge-sheet was filed before a designated court in Sopore Tehsil of Baramulla district. All of them were charged under sections 302 (murder), 364 (abduction), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intent) of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) for conspiring and kidnapping three youths from Nadihal Baramulla on the pretext of giving them jobs and later killing them in Machil on the LoC in Kupwara claiming that they were militants.