SRINAGAR: The closure of Pathribal fake encounter case by army evoked strong criticism across the political spectrum in Kashmir. With the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah leading the charge, most of the Kashmir centric politicians, from mainstream as well as the separatist camp came out against the move.
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party described the closure of the case as miscarriage of justice. PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said that while there had been many instances in which standards of justice applied to incidents taking place in J&K have been found short of the universal standards applied in rest of the country, Pathribal atrocity stood out even among them for its cruelty and context.
Recalling the 2000 incident, Mufti said not only were five innocent persons killed in cold blood and dubbed as terrorists to cover-up another atrocity at Chattisinhpora, but even innocent people demanding justice were shot down by an insensitive government at Brakpora.
While there is a genuine outrage at Khirki incident in New Delhi, the opposite of it is seen in J&K, where all institutions, from the local police station to the highest court in the land, have for the last 15 years not been able to deliver justice or provoke a national debate, even though five innocent citizens of the same country were picked up like lambs for slaughter, Mufti added.
Chairman J & K Peoples Conference Sajad Lone said the closure was a predictable verdict. One hardly expects justice when the army itself decides to judge the guiltiness of army. It is an ugly reminder that the judicial system in India is not yet ready to deliver justice for atrocities in Kashmir, Lone said
Chairman Awami Etihad Party, Er Rashid said that closing the case is another day of shame in Indian democracy. Men in uniform can get away with any crime.
Zero tolerance or zero accountability? Army must say why it closed Pathribal case after the premier investigating agency CBI chargesheeted its five soldiers. We had noted that from Prime Minister to Army Chief of this country bragging Zero tolerance when it comes to violations in Kashmir but on contrary it has meant hundred percent tolerances to gross human rights abuses and violations against browbeaten Kashmiris by men in uniform, Rashid said.
PDP patron, Mufti also castigated the state government and said the incidents like Pathribal taking place even today and the state government thinks its role does not go beyond shedding some cosmetic tears. He said the recent example was the killing of four innocent persons allegedly by BSF in Gool, last year, where the chief minister pronounced a verdict even before the enquiry declaring the BSF innocent.
Though, an enquiry has been promised into the Gool incident and a court martial ordered in Macchil fake encounters, the army verdict in Pathribal has further reduced the confidence level of people in any such exercises he said.
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