AIPTV-(inputs with PTI)
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on May 27 ordered a magisterial probe into the killing of three persons by the army on the Line of Control after it said an infiltration bid had been foiled in north Kashmir’s Machil sector of Kupwara district.
A defence spokesman in Srinagar in a statement said that troops gunned down three infiltrators in the Machil sector of the LoC on April 30.
However, villagers in north Kashmir’s Nadihal village in Sopore district hold protests for the past one month seeking the whereabouts of three youth namely Shahzad Ahmad, Riyaz Ahmad and Mohammad Shafi who have been missing ever since.
On 8th of June, the alleged fake encounter in Machil also dominated the meetings Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with leaders of various political parties in Srinagar with some of them calling it as a ‘national shame’ and an incident which had affected the political gains.
The Kashmir valley was rocked by protests after allegations of a fake encounter in Machil area along the Line of Control where three civilians were killed allegedly by the Army.
Jammu and Kashmir Police has again sent a reminder to Army for handing over the custody of a Colonel, a Major and four others for interrogation in the alleged Machil fake encounter case in which three youths were killed in frontier district of Kupwara in April this year. Sources in the state home department said a letter was sent yesterday to the local Army headquarter 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 Colonel was relieved of the command and the Major was suspended ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh”s visit to the Valley on June seven. The sources said if the Army does not hand over the officials, the police would file the charge sheet naming the Colonel, the Major and four personnel of other ranks besides three civilians including a Territorial Army cop Abbas Shah.
The state government claims that the army personnel had acted with criminal intent. However, army officials were trying to invoke Armed Forces Special Powers Act under which its personnel are not handed over to civilian administration.
Police have recorded 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 have arrested three persons Abbas Shah — the Territorial Army cop, 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 had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the case and also took up the matter with the Defence Ministry. The government had ordered exhumation of bodies and a post-mortem was conducted.
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.