Three Kashmiri youth were dubbed as Pakistani militants in the 2010 fake encounter case
A military court has suspended the life sentences of five army men accused of killing three unemployed Kashmiri youth and then trying to pass them off as Pakistani militants in a fake encounter in Machil sector along the Line of Control in April 2010, a media report said.
According to Mail Today, the armed forces tribunal also granted them bail in the case related to the death of three civilians in Kashmir Valley in 2010 where the accused were dismissed from service and given jail terms.
Colonel Dinesh Pathania, Captain Upendra, Havildar Devender Kumar, Lance Naik Lakhmi, Lance Naik Arun Kumar from 4 Rajput Regiment and rifleman Abas Hussain of the Territorial Army were convicted in 2014 in the fake encounter case.
“The armed forces tribunal bench headed by Justice VK Shali suspended the punishment awarded to these personnel and granted them bail in the case,” Major Anand Kumar and Major SS Pandey, the two lawyers of five Army personnel in the case, were quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The suspension of punishment means that the troops would be out of jail while the court would continue to hear the case on the trial conducted by the force against them.
On April 29, 2010, the three Kashmiri youth — Shazad Ahmad Khan (27), Riyaz Ahmad Lone (20) and Mohammad Shafi Lone (19) – were lured to upper reaches of Machhil from their Nadihal village in Baramulla district on the pretext of jobs and good money as porters with the Army.
The three were then shot dead by army men of 4 Rajput Regiment, then commanded by Colonel Pathania, in the staged encounter. The victims were dubbed as Pakistani militants killed while trying to infiltrate across the LoC.
In 2014, the Indian Army had sentenced two of its officers – Colonel Dinesh Pathania and Captain Upendra Singh – and three soldiers – Havaldar Devinder and lance naiks Lakshmi and Arun Kumar – to life imprisonment for staging the killing of three civilians in North Kashmir’s Machil area in April 2010 and then attempting to blame “Pakistani militants” for their deaths.
All the five army men have been languishing in different prisons across India. Col Pathania is lodged in the Nahan jail in Himachal Pradesh while Captain Upendra is in a jail in Rajasthan’s Ajmer city. Two of the army men are in Meerut jail while Lance Naik Lakhmi is in the Bharatpur prison.