Jammu and Kashmir police has sought the custody of an Army colonel, a Major and four others for custodial interrogation in the alleged fake encounter of three youths in Machil sector in frontier district of Kupwara in April this year.

Sources in the State Home Department said a letter had been sent to the local Army headquarters for handing over Colonel D. K. Pathania, Major Upinder and four others for their detailed custodial interrogation.

They claimed that the Army had been asked to hand over the custody expeditiously as there was enough evidence to suggest their involvement in the killing of Muhammad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed.

They were gunned down on the night of April 29.

The sources said if the Army does not hand over the officials, the police would be proceeding with its charge-sheet naming the Colonel, the Major and four personnel of other ranks besides three civilians which include a territorial Army jawan Abbas Shah.

Army officials were trying to invoke Armed Forces Special Powers Act under which no official is to be handed over to the civilian administration but the State government claims that the action was conducted allegedly with criminal intent.

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 in Baramulla district and were allegedly gunned down.

The State police has arrested three persons Abbas Shah - the territorial Army jawan, Basharat Lone and Abdul Hamid Bhat - for allegedly luring the three youths to the border and staging a fake encounter in Machil sector of north Kashmir.

The State government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the case and also taken up the matter with the Defence Ministry.

The exhumation of bodies and post-mortem was done by the State government. The police had registered a missing report on April 27 in this regard which was later converted into a kidnapping case.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had asked Commander of 15 Corps Lt Gen N. C. Marwah to cooperate in the probe being carried out by the police.

Keywords: Machil killings