Machil Fake Encounter: Army Court Awards Lifer To 6th Soldier

13 March 2015
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: An army court on Friday sentenced sixth soldier to life impri-sonment for his involvement in the 2010 Machil fake encounter case. Court also ordered dismissalof the accused from the services. Defence sources said Territorial Army rifleman Abbas Hussain Shah, who was earlier exonerated by the army court for his involvement in the fake encounter, was awarded life sentence by General Court Martial (GCM). They said the army court found Shah guilty and accordingly ordered life sentence to him. 'He he has also been dismissed from the services.' The GCM has already awarded life sentence to five of its men including commanding officer of the unity Colonel DK Pathania and Major Upendra Singh. 'The court verdict file will be sent to Northern Command chief for confirmation of the sentence,' sources said adding the verdict will be implemented after approval from the army commander. In first week of February this year, Army's Northern Command Chief Lt Gen Lt General D S Hooda had returned the conviction file of five army men including two officers awarded life sentence by army court for their involvement in the Machil fake encounter by seeking details about the involvement of Territorial Army man Abbas Hussain Shah, who was exonerated by the army court. The army commander had returned the file to General Officer Commanding of Army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps after he and his legal advisorswent through it. 'How can TA soldier be so innocent in the case,' he had questioned. Shah was accused by army court of luring three civilians to Machil on the pretext of offering them jobs. The trio - Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone and Muhammad Shafi Lone - were killed in the fake encounter by soldiers of 4 Rajput regiment in Machil sector along Line of Control (LoC) on April 30, 2010. Army had then dubbed the deceased as 'foreign terrorists', who were infiltrating from other side of LoC. Following public outcry police launched a probethat revealed that army had staged the encounter. The killings triggered outrage across the Valley and is said to be one of the causes that triggered six month long unrest in 2010. Over 120 people, mostly youth died in police and paramilitary forces action in the year. In December 2013, army had ordered court martial proceedings in the case.