The Army has decided to try five officers accused in the Pathribal fake encounter case in 2000 in a General Court Martial (GCM), eight weeks after the Supreme Court gave it the option to choose the mode of trial.
The ruling National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir welcomed the Army’s decision and hoped that the proceedings and results would be made transparent.
“It’s a welcome step but we demand that the proceedings and the results be made transparent so that there is no scope for any allegations or feeling of a cover up,” NC spokesman Tanvir Sadiq said in a statement.
The Army moved an application before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (Srinagar), the designated CBI court, seeking transfer of the Pathribal fake encounter case to the GCM, a court official said on Friday.
Brigadier Ajay Saxena, Lt. Col. Brajendra Pratap Singh, Major Sourabh Sharma, Major Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan were chargesheeted by the CBI in 2006 in connection with the killing of five civilians in Anantnag district in March, 2000. The accused later said those killed were foreign militants.
The court official said the CJM had directed transferring the records, including the charge sheet and other material evidence, to the GCM through the Army’s authorised officer.
The Army’s decision came after the Supreme Court on May 1 gave the Army eight weeks’ time to decide whether the accused officers would be tried in the GCM or face a trial in the civilian court.
As per the CBI investigation, the five civilians were killed and branded as militants days after 35 Sikhs were massacred in the nearby Chattisingpora village.
Meanwhile, relatives of the victims voiced their disappointment over the development saying there was “little hope for justice.”
“We have never heard what happens during a court martial... the results are never made public,” Rashid Khan, son of one of the victims, Jumma Khan, said. — PTI