Will Boycott Court Martial: Pathribal Victims’ Kin

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SRINAGAR: Relatives of the victims of the Pathribal fake encounter 13 years ago have refused to depose before a court martial in the case, citing insecurity.  

“We are exhausted,” Rasheed Khan, the son of one of the five victims, Juma Khan, said. “And we feel insecure.”  

“Besides, we have already recorded our statements before the chief judicial magistrate in Anantnag in the year 2000. What more is going to come out of the military court,” he said.

“We cannot afford to go to Nagrota where the court martial is to be held. What guarantees for us to return alive when our innocent kin were slaughtered brutally and then claimed to be foreign militants,’ he said.

The families’ 13-year-long battle for justice has been stymied by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) due to which five top army officers, including a brigadier, indicted by the CBI in 2006, have not been prosecuted in a civilian court so far.

After years of nitpicking, the Supreme Court last year gave the army the option to decide whether to agree to civilian prosecution of the accused personnel or try them by its own tribunal.

Five persons were killed on March 25, 2000, with the army claiming them to be the perpetrators of the massacre of 36 members of the Sikh community in the Chattisinghpora village five days earlier.

Following protests by relatives, their bodies were exhumed and found to be ordinary villagers – a subsequent CBI inquiry indicting the army for a fake encounter.  

Today, the families of the victims said that they had decided to boycott the court martial proceedings.

“We don’t think it is possible to get justice,” Rahseed Khan said. KMN

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