Life term for colonel, captain, 5 others in J&K fake encounter

Life term for colonel, captain, 5 others in J&K fake encounter

Seven Army personnel, including a colonel and a captain, have been sentenced to life for killing three civilians in a fake encounter on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir more than four years ago.

The verdict came less than a year after the Army ordered court martial of the accused soldiers involved in killing Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone and Muhammad Shafi Lone of Nadihal, Baramulla on April 30, 2010, in the fake encounter.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah broke the news on Thursday after he tweeted: “The Army has handed out life sentences to seven inc(luding) the commanding officer in the Machil fake encounter case of 2010. This is indeed a very welcome step.

“This is a watershed moment. No one in Kashmir ever believed that justice would be done in such cases. Faith in institutions disappeared. I hope that we will never see such #Machil fake encounter type of incidents ever again and let this serve as a warning to those tempted to try.”

Those convicted by court martial include the then commanding officer of the 4 Rajput regiment (the unit which was involved in the encounter) Colonel D K Pathania, Captain Upendra Singh, Subedar Satbir Singh, Havildar Bir Singh, Sepoy Chandraban, Sepoy Nagendra Singh and Sepoy Narinder Singh. Abbas Hussain Shah of the Territorial Army was exonerated by the court martial.

The court martial was ordered in December last year after the Army’s court of inquiry submitted its final report. It was completed in September this year. Sources said besides life imprisonment all service benefits of the guilty soldiers have been suspended by the court martial. The three civilians were killed in the fake encounter by the soldiers and were passed off as infiltrating Pakistani militants to get promotions and awards.

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