Machil fake encounter case: Armymen handed life sentence

Srinagar: The army has handed the life sentence to seven of its personnel, including two officers, in connection with the Machil fake encounter killing of three youths in Jammu and Kashmir in 2010, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said.

“The army has handed out life sentences to seven inc(luding) the Commanding officer in the Machil fake encounter case of 2010. This is indeed a very welcome step,” Omar said in a tweet today.

Hailing the verdict of the General Court Martial, Omar said on twitter, “This is a watershed moment. No one in Kashmir ever believed that justice would be done in such cases. Faith in institutions disappeared.?

“I hope that we never see such #Machil fake encounter type of incidents ever again and let this serve as a warning to those tempted to try.”

However, army sources in New Delhi said that only five personnel have been sentenced and a confirmation process is on.

The court martial proceedings began in January this year and ended in September.

In April, 2010, army had said it had killed three infiltrators in the Machil sector and claimed they were Pakistani militants.

The men were later identified as Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone and Muhammad Shafi Lone, all residents of Baramulla district.

The families of the deceased claimed the army had lured the trio to a border area promising them jobs and money before later killing them near the Line of Control and claiming that they were terrorists.

The killings sparked widespread protests in Kashmir Valley, which snowballed into a full-fledged agitation lasting till mid-October in 2010.

Nearly 120 persons were killed in security forces’ action in the five months following the Machil fake encounter deaths.