Kashmir aghast over closure of Pathribal fake encounter case

Can’t be wished away like this: Omar 

SRINAGAR:  Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday expressed disappointment after Army’s decision to close the Pathribhal fake encounter case citing lack of prima facie evidence. 

In a tweet soon after the news of the army closure came, Omar said the case can’t be ‘wished away like this’.  

“Extremely disappointed with the decision of the army reg #Pathribal. Will ask the Law Dept & Advocate General to examine options. A matter as serious as #Pathribal can’t be closed or wished away like this more so with the findings of the CBI so self evident,” Omar tweeted.

Earlier an army spokesman in Jammu said that the case was closed by army “as the evidence recorded couldn’t establish a prime-facie case against any of the accused persons,”. 

The army spokesman added, “It was clearly established that the incident was a joint operation by police and the army based on specific intelligence inputs.”

He said intimation has been given to the chief judicial magistrate Srinagar, from where the case was transferred to an army court two years back. 

“Statements of 50 people including locals, state government officials, police and troopers were recorded during the process of investigation,” the spokesman said. “Besides this forensic, documentary and other relevant records were taken into account.”

The Pathribal case refers to killing of five Kashmir civilians in a fake gunfight by police and army in Pathribal village of Anantnag district in 2000. Police and army had claimed to have killed five foreign militants responsible for the massacre of 35 Sikhs in Chatisinghpora village a few days back.  The five, however, later proved out to be local civilians picked up in midnight raids prior to the claimed gunfight.  After many twists and turns in the case, including killing of protestors at Brakpora, fudging of DNA samples meant for identification of the exhumed bodies, the case was handed over  to CBI. 

In 2006 CBI indicted five army men for staging the encounter. CBI in its charge sheet declared the encounter as a cold blooded murder of five civilians. CBI had identified five officers in its charge sheet; Brigadier Ajay Saxena, Lt Col Brajendra Pratap Singh, Major Sourabh Sharma, Major Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan in 2006 for killing five civilians and later dubbing them as foreign militants.

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