Indian Army’s Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), which suspended life imprisonment of troops involved in killing of three civilians in a fake encounter in Machil in 2010, has said that it cannot be ruled out that the slain men were militants “because they were wearing Pathan suits (shalwar and qamees).”
According to media sources, the AFT order, as per media reports, said, “The fact that accused persons were terrorists….cannot be ruled out because they were wearing Pathan suits which are worn by terrorists.” This was the ground invoked by the Tribunal bench comprising Justice V K Shali and General SK Singh earlier this week to suspend punishment of the killer soldiers and releasing them on bail. The three civilians — Shezhad Khan, Shafi Lone and Riyaz Lone of Nadihal, Rafiabad, were lured to an army camp at Kalaroos in Kupwara and were subsequently killed in cold blood during the intervening night of April 29 and 30, 2010, at Sona Pindi in Machil. The Army claimed that they had killed three foreign militants but the police investigation proved that they were local civilians killed in a fake encounter. Subsequently, the bodies of three were exhumed from a graveyard at Kalaroos. Later, the Court Martial awarded life imprisonment to commanding officer Dinesh Pathania, Capitan Upendra, Havaldar Devender Kumar, Lance Naik Lakhmi, Lance Nail Arun Kumar and Rifleman Abbas Hussain who staged the fake encounter to claim cash rewards and promotions which the army grants to its personnel for killings in Kashmir.