GOWHAR MANZOOR/ NIDA ASIF IQBAL
Srinagar: Leaders from across the political divide in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday expressed strong disappointment over army’s closure of pathribal fake encounter case.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Friday expressed shock over the army’s decision to close a case of killing five locals after branding them foreign guerrillas.
"Extremely disappointed with the decision of the army… Will ask the law department and advocate general to examine options," Abdullah tweeted.
Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, in a statement from New Delhi described the closure as “live example of lawlessness and state-terrorism.”
“The closure of Pathribal fake encounter case by Indian army is a live example lawlessness and state-terrorism through which shows that there is no worth or accountability for human lives in Jammu and Kashmir,” Geelani said in a statement issued to GNS by Hurriyat Conference (G) spokesman. “Geelani said that it is army that rules the roost in Jammu and Kashmir”.
“They can kill anybody and there is law or court which can punish the killers or hold them accountable for murdering innocents,” he said.
While reiterating the demand for probe by War Crimes Tribunal of United Nations into “Pathribal fake encounter case and hundreds of similar incidents,” to take the culprits to the justice, Geelani said “Pathribal fake encounter is a serious bloody incident in which five innocents were murdered in broad day light.”
“By closing the case, the Indian army has slapped on the face of Kashmiri people that their lives have no worth and even if they kill all Kashmiris, there is none to hold them accountable,” Geelani said.
Geelani said that the incident has exposed “the real face of Indian army.”
“India sells its army before the world as the best disciplined force but the incident has proven that it has no accountability and no respect for human rights,” Geelani added.
Geelani also lashed out at Kashmir’s rulers for being “civilian cover of martial law.”
“The decision of army is a challenge to Kashmir’s civilian rulers that their position was not more than that of a puppet government and that Omar Abdullah was a mere show boy,” Geelani said.
He also appealed international community to take cognizance of the issue “to raise their voice against this lawlessness.”
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while describing the closure of Pathribal fake encounter case as, “murder of justice by the sword of AFSPA” said “Army’s decision has once again proved our stand that such type of inquiry commissions and court martial’s are created to buy time and to protect the culprits.
“Till Army and other government forces enjoy protection under black laws like AFSPA, Pathribal type of incidents cannot be stopped from happening,” Mirwaiz said in a statement issued to GNS by the spokesman of the Hurriyat Conference (M).
Hurriyat Chairman further said that acts of killing innocent people in cold blood was being carried out in a systematic manner and the announced probes in such incidents have not only always proved to be an eyewash but have actually been used to protect the killers from the clutches of justice.
Mirwaiz further said that the Army’s decision which protect the Pathribal fake encounter accused army personnel should be an eye-opener for the United Nations Human Rights Council, International Human Rights Organizations and for the Civil Society and justice loving people of India as well and everybody should see how five innocent unarmed civilians, labelled as militants, were murdered in cold blood to cover up the Sikh massacre of Chatisinghpora first and thereafter how five officers of army who were indicted by the CBI, the reputed investigation agency of India, as accused in the fake encounter incident of Pathribal, were protected from punishment by using the cover of AFSPA.
Hurriyat Chairman said that we have time and again made our stand clear that people of Kashmir had not faith in the government established systems in providing justice to the victims of such incidents. Mirwaiz said that Pathribal and all like incidents as well incidents of custodial killings and other serious human rights violations need impartial probe.
He said that the Pathribal case decision has further strengthen our suspicion about the fate of Machil encounter case as well, in which Army has ordered a Court Martial, that its fate would also be like that of Pathribal incident and there was every likelihood that the culprits instead of facing justice may be rewarded.
Hurriyat Chairman said that the murder and killing of innocents can however, not be covered forever. The blood of the victims will keep on crying for justice.
Mirwaiz appealed to United Nations Human Rights Council, International Human Rights Organizations, and the entire civilized world community and justice loving people to raise their voice against the atrocities committed against the freedom loving people of Kashmir and play their role to end black laws like AFSPA and PSA as well as ensure impartial probe into all incidents of gross human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
JKLF stages protest at lal-chowk
Clean chit to accused akin to justifying Kashmiris genocide: Malik
Activists of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Friday staged a protest at Lal-chowk against the closure of pathribal fake encounter case by army.
In a statement issued to GNS, the JKLF chairman said that by giving clean chit to its officers involved in Pathribal fake encounter case, Indian army has justified the genocide of Kashmiris; this was stated by JKLF chairman.
“Killing civilians in the name of foreign militants and then giving killers clean chit is an ugly stain on the Indian democracy,” Malik added.
Malik said that on March 26, 2000 Indian army killed 5 innocents after abducting them from their houses and dubbed then as foreign militants who were involved in massacre of Sikh brethren at Chitisinghpora.
Malik said that the then state chief minister Farooq Abdullah and then home minister of India L K Advani wasted no time in hailing the efforts of their forces but after people’s protest against these killings, government announced a probe and punishment for guilty.
“During the investigations even the samples of DNA were changed many a times but still it was proved beyond doubt that Indian forces had murdered innocents in cold-blood for their petty gains and promotions and also for covering up the massacre of Sikh community at Chitisinghpora,” Malik added.
He said that even the CBI in 2012 pleading before the Indian Supreme Court said “the alleged fake encounters at Pathribal in Jammu Kashmir 12 years ago in which seven people were killed by army personnel were cold–blooded murders and the accused officials deserved to be meted out exemplary punishment.”
But now after 14 years we are being told that army has found no evidence of their involvement in the massacre and that army has closed this case,” Malik said, adding “this denial and shielding killers and murderers is not new as Indian army and rulers before this also shielded the killers and criminals involved in Gaw Kadal, Sopore, Handwara, Bijbihara, Kawdara, Tengpora ,Zakura, Bandipora, Poonch, Baderwah massacres and Kunan Poshpora like crimes.”
The JKLF chairman said that today Indian army has kicked out Indian democracy, law and even its highest court because these killers know that they are protected by black laws like AFSPA.
Malik said that Kashmiris will not take this issue lightly and will protest against this impunity with full force.
“JKLF will protest against this criminal attitude of Indian state on Friday at Lal Chowk,” he said.
While rejecting the probe, opposition PDP said that the closing of the chapter will yield serious effect in the valley.
“We reject it. This is a serious setback to any effort undertaken to restore the faith of the people in democratic setup,” PDP spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar said.
Asking the policy makers in New Delhi to change their mindset about Kashmir, president Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) and MLA langate, Er Rasheed said that New Delhi has always disgraced the sentiments of Kashmiris.
“The talk of zero tolerance by army and political leaders is a mere cruel joke,” Rasheed said.
“Zero tolerance or zero accountability? Army must say why it closed Pathribal case after the premier investigating agency CBI charge-sheeted its five soldiers,” Rasheed said.
“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,” he said.
“Closing down Pathribal fake encounter case is another day of shame in Indian democracy. Men in uniform can get away with any crime,” he said, adding “Army’s closure report in Pathribal in contradiction to CBI findings.”
Act on CBI report: AMM
Stating that the Army’s closure report in Pathribal case exonerating its accused officials was in contradiction to the CBI findings, Awami Mutahida Mahaz has demanded a swift action on the CBI report in which the army officials were indicted for the cold blooded murder of five civilians.
“The AMM is of the opinion that army’s decision to close the case drawn on hasty conclusions not only deprive the justice to the victims of human rights violations but further erode the credibility of the institutions of probity and fairness,” a statement issued by the amalgam of pro-India parties said.
“The closure report has created a lot of confusion as the CBI has already established a case against the army officials describing the killing of five civilians at Pathribal as a cold blooded murder,” the statement said, adding “In such circumstances, we are of the opinion that the government should without any delay act on the CBI findings and punish the guilty.” (GNS)