On April 30, 2010, three Baramulla youths were shot dead by the Army, claiming that they were Pakistani terrorists.
The Army on Wednesday initiated court martial proceedings against six of its men, including two officers, for their alleged involvement in the 2010 Machchil fake encounter case that had triggered a two month-long agitation in the Kashmir Valley.
Army sources said those who will face proceedings include Col D K Pathania, Commanding Officer (CO) of 4 Rajput Regiment, Major Upinder and four personnel of the regiment.
On April 30, 2010, the Army had claimed that they had killed three infiltrators in the Machchil sector along the Line of Control. It had later claimed that they were Pakistani terrorists.
However, they were later identified as Mohamad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed, all residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district. They were allegedly lured to a border area and shot dead.
Following complaints from relatives of the victims, a Territorial Army jawan and two others were arrested by police but the incident led to unrest in the entire Kashmir Valley and widespread demonstrations in which 123 people were killed.
An official spokesperson of the Northern Command said the Army ordered disciplinary proceedings against the accused personnel of the Army units involved in the 2010 alleged Machchil fake encounter case.
“A very detailed and exhaustive enquiry was conducted with the assistance of state police and judicial department to summon witnesses, record evidence and establish culpability of the accused personnel…After detailed scrutiny of the complete incident and any wrong doings committed by the concerned personnel, the Army has ordered court martial proceedings to take the legal process to a logical conclusion highlighting the Army’s resolve of ensuring justice with speed,” the spokesperson said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police had in July 2010 filed a charge sheet against an Army Colonel, a Major and seven others in the case. The charge sheet had named Col Pathania, Maj Upinder and four others of the unit besides a Territorial Army jawan and two others for allegedly conspiring and kidnapping three youths from Sopore on the pretext of giving them jobs and later killing them in the higher reaches of Kupwara claiming they were terrorists.
The charge sheet was filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sopore.
The State police had arrested three persons Abbas Shah—the Territorial Army jawan, Basharat Lone and Abdul Hamid Bhat — for alleged involvement in the case.