JAMMU: The Northern Army Commander has confirmed the life imprisonment awarded to six armymen including two officers by an army court for the killing of three youths in a fake encounter in Machil in Kashmir in 2010.
"The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen D S Hooda has confirmed the sentence of the Summery General Court Martial (SGCM) in Machil encounter case," PRO Defence, Northern Command, Col S D Goswami said. The six personnel -- Colonel Dinesh Pathania, who was the commanding officer, Captain Opindra, Havaldar Devender Kumar, Lance Naik Lakhmi, Lance Naik Arun Kumar and Rifleman Abbas Hussain -- were held guilty by the SGCM which sentenced them to life imprisonment in November last year.
The six army personnel will now be handed over to jail authorities as legal proceedings have been completed by the Army. An appeal can be filed in high court such cases, sources said. The incident came to light on April 30, 2010 when bodies of three youths were shown by Army as militants who were trying to sneak into the Valley from higher reaches of Machil in North Kashmir with arms and ammunition.
It had later claimed that they were Pakistani terrorists. However, it was established by Jammu and Kashmir police that they were unemployed youths Mohamad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed and residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district. They were apparently misled on the pretext of giving jobs and later shot dead.
Police had chargesheeted nine people in July 2010 including six army personnel but had to hand over the probe to the Army after it was assured of holding a detailed inquiry into the incident.
Following the alleged fake encounter, a Territorial Army jawan and two others were arrested by police but the incident led to widespread unrest in the entire Kashmir Valley which left 123 people dead.
Police had arrested three persons Abbas Shah, the Territorial Army jawan, Basharat Lone and Abdul Hamid Bhat-for alleged involvement in the encounter. These three people will stand trial once the final report of the Army will be submitted before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sopore.