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Colonel, Major chargesheeted in Machil encounter case

Source: PTI
July 16, 2010 02:39 IST
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The Jammu and Kashmir police filed a chargesheet against an army colonel, a major and seven others in a case of alleged fake encounter in which three youths were killed in the frontier district of Kupwara in April. Official sources said the chargesheet has named Colonel D K Pathania, Major 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 chargesheet was filed in the court of chief judicial magistrate in Sopore.

The army was sent three reminders by the police for handing over the custody of the army officials for their custodial interrogation as they claimed there was enough evidence to suggest their involvement in the killing of Muhammad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed who 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 in June. Army officials had attempted to invoke the Armed Forces Special Powers Act under which no official is to be handed over to the civilian administration. However, the state government argued in its chargesheet 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 before being allegedly gunned down.

The state police 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 ordered a magisterial inquiry into the case and also took up the matter with the defence ministry. The bodies were exhumed and a 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 akidnapping case. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had asked the commander of 15 Corps Lieutenant General N C Marwah to cooperate in the probe being carried out by the police.

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