Army Blames Police For Pathribal Operation

Army Blames Police For Pathribal Operation

27 January 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ishfaq Tantry

Srinagar: The Army in its report to the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) here has blamed the J&K police for the Pathribal operation. The Army’s version comes following CBI’s clean chit to the state police over the abduction and killing of five civilians. The Army report submitted to the court by Lt General DS Hooda says the Pathribal operation was launched jointly on March 25, 2000 on “specific intelligence” provided by the “civil police” to the “local commander” a day before on March 24, 2000, thus putting the blame on the state police. “Having dispassionately examined the evidence, it is clearly established that a joint operation was launched by the Army (7 Rashtriya Rifles) along with civil police on March 25, 2000 based on precise information given by the civil police (J&K Police) to the local Army Commander, on March 24, 2000”, Lt General DS Hooda has informed the CJM in his report vide no 2701-Pathribal-DV-1 dated January 20, 2014. On January 23 last week, the Army had announced that it had closed the Pathribal case in which five Rashtriya Rifles officers were accused of killing five Kashmiri civilians in a “staged” encounter in March 2000 in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Under Rule 7 of the J&K Criminal Courts and Court Martial (Adjustments of Jurisdiction) Rules, 1983, the Commanding Officer of the accused Army personnel is required to inform the judicial magistrate concerned before whom the chargesheet is filed, about the proceedings of the court martial and its decision. The CBI, which completed its investigation into the Pathribal “staged” encounter case in 2006, in its chargesheet before CJM, had accused five army officers of the “abduction” and “cold-blooded murder” of the five civilians. The probe agency had, however, exonerated the then police head of the area, Farooq Khan, who was then SSP Anantnag, of the complicity in the case. The CBI had arrived at the conclusion based on a letter written by an Army Major to the police wherein it (police) had been asked to file an FIR into the Pathribal encounter. Lt General Hooda submitted to the CJM that “there is no evidence on record which in any way connects any of the five accused (army officials) with murder, wrongful confinement, abduction-causing disappearance, etc, of the five deceased persons”. He said 55 prosecution witnesses were examined during the hearing. What Lt General Hooda said The operation was launched jointly on March 25, 2000 on “specific intelligence” provided by the “civil police” to the “local commander” There is no evidence on record which in anyway connects any of the five accused (Army officers) with murder, wrongful confinement, abduction-causing disappearance, etc, of the five deceased persons. Fifty-five prosecution witnesses were examined during the hearing Fresh probe not ruled out A fresh probe into the Pathribal encounter case is not ruled out in view of the major controversy that has erupted after the Army gave a clean chit to its personnel in the infamous incident. The indications came on a day when Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh met Defence Minister A K Antony in New Delhi on Monday. - PTI