The Armed Forces Tribunal has suspended the life imprisonment of five army personnel who were convicted by a General Court Martial in 2014 for staging the killing of three Kashmiri civilians at Macchil in the state in 2010, the Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
Out of the five army personnel, one is a Colonel and the other a Captain, the daily said.
The India Today reported that the tribunal has also granted them bail.
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 for alleged human rights abuse, the India Today reported.
“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,” the India Today reported quoting the two lawyers of the five accused.
The incident had taken place in April 2010 when the three Kashmiris of Nadihal village of Baramullah district were killed by the army and later branded as foreign militants allegedly for brass medals and cash rewards, the Indian Express reported.
Shazad Khan (27), Shafi Lone (19) and Riyaz Lone (20) had been lured to an army camp at Kalaroos in Kupwara where they were subsequently killed in a staged encounter during the intervening night of 29 and 30 April, 2010 at Sona Pindi in Machil sector on the Line of Control (LoC), the daily wrote adding that the army had dubbed them as foreign militants who were killed in an encounter while trying to sneak in through the LoC.
A police investigation later found that the dead were locals, and were made to come to Machil by a former special police officer, Bashir Ahmad Lone, and his accomplices with the offer of jobs and later handed over to the army personnel for Rs 50,000 each, wrote the Hindu in a report.
Following the revelation, the bodies were exhumed on 28 May, 2010, and their family members identified them. A colonel, two majors, five soldiers, one Territorial Army man and two civilians were named by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in a charge sheet filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in 2010, the daily reported.
The news of a fake encounter by the army triggered massive protests across Kashmir resulting in clashes with police over around four months that saw 110 civilians killed and 537 injured, while 1,247 CRPF men and 2,747 police personnel were injured.
On Christmas Day in 2013 — nearly three-and-a-half years after ordering an inquiry — the army ordered court martial proceedings against five of its personnel. Eleven months later (in November 2014), the army sentenced them to life imprisonment.
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Updated Date: Jul 26, 2017 17:53:52 IST