The Army on Friday decided to close the Pathribal fake encounter case, citing lack of evidence, triggering angry responses from across the political spectrum in Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wrote on twitter, “I am extremely disappointed with army decision to close Pathribal encounter case”
He said a matter as serious as Pathribal “cannot be closed or wished away like this”, especially with the findings of the CBI being self-evident. Omar said he would ask the State’s Law Department and the Advocate General to examine the legal options.
“I will also take up the issue with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh when he visits J&K next month for the National Science Congress,” he said, adding that the probe was not carried out by the J&K police and the State government. Omar said the investigation was conducted by the CBI, which is under the direct command of the central government.
Opposition PDP patron and former J&K Chief Minister Mufi Mohammad Sayeed termed the army’s closure of the case a “miscarriage of justice”.
“Army is a huge setback to the efforts at reconciliation and delivery of justice, which is prerequisite for building trust. While there have been many instances in which standards of justice applied to incidents taking place in J&K have been found short, Pathribal atrocity stood out even among them for its cruelty,” Mufti said.
He said this case could have been a test case for institutions to rise above other considerations and uphold justice to open a new chapter of reconciliation in Kashmir. The PDP patron said the challenge before Government of India (GoI) is to end double standards when it comes to enforcing law in J&K and other parts of the country.
J&K Congress vice president G N Monga said the party was disappointed with the army decision. “We will study the army report and take decision,” he said.
Salman Soz son of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief Saif-ud-Din Soz, who was recently appointed as party spokesman in his tweet said, “In the Pathribal case, what is good for J&K is good for the country. Justice in this case will be good for J&K. CBI has shown the way.”
Independent MLA and chairman of Awami Ittihaad Party Sheikh Abdur Rashid said army must say why it closed Pathribal case after CBI filed charge-sheet against five soldiers.
“PM and Army Chief were had been talking of Zero tolerance to HR abuses. However, when it comes to Kashmir, “Zero tolerance” means hundred percent tolerance to gross human rights abuses and violations by men in uniform,” he said.