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Court martial for encounter colonel

Srinagar, Dec. 25: The army has decided to court martial a colonel and a major along with four jawans for the 2010 Machil fake encounter in which three youths were killed and branded infiltrating militants.

A high-level court of enquiry by a brigadier level-officer recommended court martial proceedings against Colonel D.K. Pathania, then commanding officer of 4-Rajput Regiment, Major Upinder, and the others, after collecting the summary of evidence.

“A detailed and exhaustive enquiry was conducted and after scrutiny of complete incident and any wrongdoings committed by concerned personnel, the army has ordered the court martial proceedings to take the legal process to a logical conclusion,” said Lt Col Rajesh Kalia, the defence spokesperson at the Udhampur-based Northern Command.

In 2010, the army claimed to have killed three infiltrators on the Line of Control but it soon emerged that the youths — Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Shafi Lone and Riyaz Ahmad Lone — used to work as porters for the army.

Police investigations in 2011 revealed the three were taken to Machil on the LoC and killed in fake encounter in which Colonel Pathani “had no direct role in the operation, though... there was a conspiracy with a common intention”.

A police chargesheet later filed in a Sopore court had indicted Colonel Pathania, Major Moriya, Major Upinder, Subedar Satbir Singh, Havildar Bur Singh, Sepoy Chandra Bhan, Sepoy Naginder Singh and Narinder Singh along with three civilians.

“The other major (Major Moriya) won’t be court martialed,” an officer said. It is not clear which four jawans among the five indicted by the police are being court martialed.