ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pathribal Fake Encounter Case

In Pursuit of Justice

The palpably fake encounter killing of innocent villagers at Pathribal has become one of the bellwether cases about India's human rights record in Kashmir and the manner in which the State deals with this. For more than 12 years, the Government of India has done everything in its power to deny justice to the victims and protect the guilty. In this context, the Supreme Court's judgment on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has only strengthened the impunity of the security forces and weakened the fundamental rights of citizens.

On 20 March 2000 in Chattisinghpora village in Anantnag district of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) 36 people from the Sikh community were killed in the dead of the night by unidentified, masked gunmen. It was the day when the then president of United States, Bill Clinton, landed in Delhi. Five days later on 25 March 2000 in a joint operation by seven Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and Special Task Force (hereinafter called STF), five terrorists were claimed to have been killed at Pathribal Panchalthan village in Anantnag district of J&K.

On 25 March itself Major Amit ­Saxena of 7 RR got an FIR (FIR No 15/2000) filed under Section 307 of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and Section 7/25 of the Arms Act, 1959 in Achabal police station of Anantnag district to the effect that five foreign terrorists were killed in an encounter. The charred bodies of these men were handed over to police after being photographed and videographed with arms and ammunition before the local, Indian and International media. As a passing reference: there was a controversy over the arms and ammunition claimed to have been recovered. The ­police complained that the said arms and ammunition were not handed over to them which is mandatory and amo­unts to disappearance of evidence under Section 201 of Ranbir Penal Code.

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