Written by Mir Ehsan | Srinagar | March 14, 2015
The Army’s General Court Martial (GCM) has awarded a life sentence to another Army man who had been exonerated in the Machil fake encounter case. Defence sources in the Northern Command said that a file has been received by the GOC Northern Command in which the life sentence has been awarded to Abas Hussain Shah, who was earlier exonerated by the GCM.
This comes after the Northern Command returned the conviction file in the Machil fake encounter case seeking more details from the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters.
In November last year, the GCM had awarded life sentences to five Army personnel, including a Commanding Officer. The file was later sent by the GOC 15 Corps to the Northern Command headquarters for confirmation.
However, the Army’s most senior commander in J&K raised queries on Shah’s role and returned the file to the 15 Corps headquarters.
The GCM, headed by Brigadier Deepak Mehra of the 68 Mountain Battalion, had also recommended that service benefits of convicted officials and soldiers be suspended. The GoC Northern Command needs to give its approval before accused soldiers and officers can be taken into custody and sent to jail.
In April, 2013, a civil court had handed over custody of Shah to the Army to record the summary of evidence in the case in the Army court. On the basis of the summary of evidence, the Army decided to court martial five soldiers.
The case dates back to April 29, 2010, when two counter-insurgents along with Territorial Army jawans lured three men from Nadihal village of Baramulla district to Kalaroos along the LoC with the promise of jobs and money. The three were killed by troopers of 4 Rajputana Rifles near the Sona Pindi post and dubbed as foreign militants.
Macchil fake encounter: life term for 5 Army men
Court-martial finds them guilty in encounter case
The Army on Thursday sentenced five of its personnel, including two officers, to life imprisonment for staging the killing of three Kashmiri civilians in the Macchil area of Kupwara district in 2010 and branding them as foreign militants for rewards and remunerations.
Those sentenced by the Army’s summary general court martial are the then Commanding Officer of 4 Rajput regiment, Col. Dinesh Pathania, Captain Upendra Singh, havildar Davender, lance naik Lakhmi and lance naik Arun Kumar.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the decision, calling it a “watershed moment.”
On April 30, 2010, Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Shafi Lone and Riyaz Ahmad Lone, all residents of Nadihal in Sopore, were lured to work as porters for the Army on the promise of high wages.
They were later killed in a staged encounter and passed off as foreign militants