KILLERS OF PATHRIBAL & CHITTISINGHPORA ARE SAME
On March 20, 2000 when USA President Bill Clinton was to visit India, Indian army (suspected) killed 35 innocent Sikhs and blamed Pakistani terrorists. However the following day at Pathribal they killed 5 innocent Kashmiri youth and blamed that these were the killers of Chittisinghpora. The Kashmiri Muslims protested at the killing of 5 youth and the case was handed over to CBI. The CBI held 5 army officers responsible for it. Recently the Army has exonerated the Army officers closed the case and there is lot of hue and cry over the army decision. Kashmir will be observing hartal for tomorrow. Here are the relevant paper clipping. The point worth note is that there is cry for 5 but no voice being raised by any Sikh politician over the massacre of 35 Sikhs. We had formed a group on Facebook seeking justice. Please join it for the sake of your brethren:
Pathribal fake encounter case: Indian Army's acquittal of accused soldiers a blot on democracy
ET Bureau Jan 27, 2014, 04.19AM IST
(CBI led the probe and, in…)
On March 25, 2000, soldiers of India's army attacked a hut in a village called Pathribal, in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir. The army claimed they killed LeT militants who had massacred Sikhs in Chattisinghpora village on the eve of then-US President Bill Clinton's visit to India.
Five charred bodies were buried separately, without postmortem investigations. Contrary to the military's claim, people said that local villagers had been killed in a fake encounter. Five days later, the bodies were exhumed and an investigation began. Eventually, the CBI led the probe and, in 2012, told a Supreme Court bench that the Pathribal affair was a cold-blooded fake encounter. Was the claimed identity of the Sikhs' killers also fake?
The military offered to prosecute the accused soldiers on its own, in 2012. Now it says no punishment is possible, as there is no evidence. The Army's self-acquittal of the Pathribal accused is a continuation of the cover ups of human rights violations in J&K and India's northeast, where the military has a free hand in dealing out "justice" as it deems fit. This is a blot on our democracy.
The J&K government says that it could go to the civilian courts to try the military in the Pathribal case. It should. The Army should not get away with grave crimes against citizens of India. In some parts officially declared "disturbed", the military can, literally, get away with murder.
That is because the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) gives the military unfettered rights to search, detain, arrest without warrant and shoot to kill in these areas. Section 6 of AFSPA gives them immunity from the law. No country can afford to keep a law like this, which has been abused thousands of times, and call itself a functioning democracy. Scrap AFSPA now and bring military personnel who step out of line to trial.
Reopen the Pathribal case
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/reopen-the-pathribal-case/article5620678.eceJanuary 27, 2014
Updated: January 27, 2014 00:44 IST
The Indian Army has not covered itself with glory by closing the cases against the officers involved in the infamous Pathribal fake encounter in Jammu and Kashmir in which five civilians were killed. Taking over the investigation of the case after an uproar over the 2000 incident, the Central Bureau of Investigation concluded that a Brigadier, a Lieutenant Colonel, two Majors, and a Subedar of 7 Rashtriya Rifles had staged the encounter, picking up civilians from the Anantnag area and killing them in cold blood. They lied to the police that the five were foreign militants who had carried out the massacre of Sikhs in Chattisinghpora a few days earlier. Backed by the Ministry of Defence and the Army top brass, the officers named contested the CBI charge sheet, making the argument that under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, prior sanction was required to prosecute them. When the legal battle reached its portals, the Supreme Court upheld the officers’ case. It also directed the Army to either sanction the prosecution of the officers or court-martial them. The Army was offered the same options back in 2001, but chose to prolong the legal battle. This time, its back to the wall, it chose the latter option. The Army court has egregiously concluded that “the evidence recorded could not establish a prima facie case against any of the accused.” The finding flies in the face of the CBI investigation, but that was only to be expected. The last hope the families of the dead had that justice might be done, lies buried.
It was only in December 2013 that the Army was patting itself on the back for ordering the court martial of three officers involved in the Machchil fake encounter case, citing that as evidence of its willingness to improve its human rights record. But the Pathribal case, through all its legal twists and turns, ending in the exoneration of the accused officers, sends exactly the opposite message. It is a textbook illustration of why the AFSPA is flawed, and strengthens the case to do away with the provision that requires “previous sanction” from the Central government for prosecution, if not to repeal the law itself. The Army’s whitewash job can only increase resentment against the military in Kashmir, and feed into the sense of alienation. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who understands this well, has rightly said Pathribal “can’t be closed or wished away”. The leader of the National Conference, already criticised as a Congress “stooge”, will have to face the political backlash from the exoneration. If the Centre is serious about winning hearts and minds in Kashmir, it should step in to undo the damage, and find a legal way to reopen the case and pave the way for a civilian trial.
Pathribal fake encounter: Hurriyat (M) calls for shutdown on Friday
Published: Thu, 30 January 2014 09:38 PM
SRINAGAR: The Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat Conference Wednesday called for a shutdown on Friday against the closure of Pathribal fake encounter case by Indian army while appealing imams( prayer leaders) to raise their voice on the issue during their sermons.
Speaking during a seminar at party headquarters here, amalgam leaders condemned the Army closure of the Pathribal fake encounter case and termed the Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA) as “license to kill for forces.”
The seminar was chaired by senior leader Moulana Mohammad Abbas Ansari and was organized to highlight the “injustices committed against Kashmiris under draconian laws like AFSPA ” and devise a strategy to challenge the Army’s clean chit to its men in the Pathribal fake encounter.
“There is no dispute that five innocent people were killed in Pathribal fake encounter. But Indian army through the court martial is trying to create doubts in people’s minds while saying it was a joint operation conducted by police and army and also invoking so- called lack of evidence to shield its men,” senior lawyer and former president High Court Bar Association, Nazir Ahmad Ronga, said.
Ronga also said that the Hurriyat leadership could help the victims by framing a strategy to plead the Pathribal fake encounter case in High Court.
“There are now only two ways to provide justice to the victims: either the Jammu and Kashmir government could challenge the order in court or the victims’ families can challenge the court martial order on their own in the court,” he said.
He also appealed pro-freedom leaders to stand united at this point of time so that “victims do not feel alone in their tragedy.”
Other speakers termed the AFSPA and other “draconian laws protecting the Indian army as a license to kill innocent Kashmiris.”
They also said that the exoneration of Army men in Pathribal had substantiated claims that Kashmir was
“run by the army and the pro-Indian politicians were just frontline sub-ordinates.”
Speaking on the occasion senior pro-freedom leader and chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF-H), Javid Ahmad Mir said the sacrifices rendered by the people of Kashmir should not be allowed to go waste at any cost and that it was high time for a “united stand to protest the army’s verdict.”
“Let us protest in New Delhi before international human rights agencies, embassies and other places so that they would ponder over the grave human rights violations in Kashmir,” Mir said.
Senior Hurriyat (M) leaders Moulvi Abbas Hussain Ansari, Abdul Manaan Bukhari, Syed Saleem Geelani also spoke on the occasion.