Victims' Mothers Hail Verdict, But Seek Complete Justice

13 November 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Baramulla: After the Army convicted seven of its personnel, including two officers, mothers of the three north Kashmir youths killed in the Machil fake encounter in 2010 had welcomed the verdict and sought the death sentence for the two civilians who were facing trial in a civil court. 'While the Army verdict is welcome, the two civilians who are facing trial should get exemplary punishment,' said Nasema Bano, mother of Riyaz Ahmed, the 22-year-old mechanic who was one of the victims. She demanded a speedy trial and said the two civilians should be hanged. The family lives in abject poverty in a single-storey house at Nadihal village which is surrounded by paddy fields on one side and a hillock on the other. Most windows in the four-room house are without glass panes and have been covered by polythene sheets to protect the family from chilly winter winds. Riyaz's mother recalled the day her eldest son disappeared. Carpenters were working on the windows in the house that day. 'Soldiers killed my son who was helping his family of 10. After his death, his brother, who is a labourer, is working,' she said. 'We are poor, but want that the civilians involved in the case should be given exemplary punishment,' she said, breaking down. 'Justice will be complete only when all accused, including the civilians, get the death penalty,' she said. The family was informed about the conviction of soldiers Thursday morning. The Army convicted seven personnel, sentenced them to life imprisonment and withdrew their service benefits. Around 300 metres from Riyaz's house lives Mohammad Shafi's family. It came to know about the conviction through the media. 'While the Army verdict is welcome, we want the civilians to be hanged. Bashir Ahmed lured the three youths and they were killed in a staged encounter. Bashir issues threats to us during civil court proceedings in Baramulla through a relative who is in the police,' said Shafi's mother Zahida. Shafi's grandmother Saib Ded was happy to hear about the verdict. 'They should rot in jail so that they understand what kill innocents means,' she said. A kilometre away is Shezad's house. His mother said delivery of justice was not complete if death was not awarded to the two local residents. 'We are poor, but want justice to be completed. The Army men have been convicted, but the civilians should be hanged,' said Shezad's mother Ayehsa. Shezad's wife Jabeena Akhtar was remarried to her brother-in-law. 'Shezad's nine year-old son asks about his father and get angry with Bashir. The family hopes that justice will be delivered,' she said. The three families had received Rs 1 lakh each as ex gratia. The three youths were killed in a fake encounter in Machil in 2010 and later termed as foreign militants. The bodies had been exhumed and buried again in the village. A number of local residents visited the local cemetery Thursday.