Three years after a fake encounter that killed three men in the Machil sector of Indian-administered Kashmir, the Indian army has announced it would prosecute six of its personnel, including two officers.
Reports, quoting an army spokesperson, on Wednesday said colonel DK Pathania, the commanding officer of 4 Rajput Regiment, Major Upinder and four other personnel would face court martial for the encounter that took place along the line of control (LOC) with Pakistan.
The court martial has been ordered after a detailed inquiry with the help of the state police and judiciary which heard witnesses, recorded evidence and established the involvement of the six personnel, said the spokesperson, adding this would ensure justice to the victims.
Reports quoting army sources said the six accused would be given exemplary punishment.
"They will most probably lose their jobs and other perks. They can be jailed also," the sources were quoted as saying.
On April 30, 2010, the Indian army announced it had killed three Pakistani "terrorists" in the Machil sector.
Later, it transpired that the three, Mohamad Shafi Lone, Shehzad Ahmed Khan and Riyaz Ahmed Lone, were residents of Nadihal in Baramullah district.
According to reports, they were lured by a security officer to Machil on the promise of getting them a job in the army. Instead, they were handed to the army for Rs 50,000 each.
The three were then killed in a fake encounter near the LoC. Claiming they were infiltrators, the Indian army buried them.
But soon, the police smelled something fishy as there were discrepancies in the version of the army on the encounter.
The encounter at the time triggered riots across the Kashmir valley leading to the deaths of 123 people.
In July 2010, the Kashmir state police investigated and filed a charge-sheet against the six army personnel.
Kashmir’s ruling National Conference welcomed the court martial proceedings.
"It is a welcome step but we strongly feel that the proceedings and the results be made transparent so that there is no scope for any allegation or feeling of a cover up," National Conference leader and political secretary to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Tanvir Sadiq said.