Srinagar Jan 24: The families of the victims allegedly killed by army in the 2000 Pathribal fake encounter, while rejecting the army decision to close case, ‘fear they would be killed like their relatives for raising their voice against army’.
Abdul Rashid Khan from Brari-Aangan Anantnag whose father Juma Khan was killed in Pathribal encounter said they were sure of getting justice after Indian’s premier investigating agency CBI admitted that it was a ‘cold blooded murder’. “Central Bureau of Investigation charged army soldier with murder while Supreme Court approved the report submitted by CBI but surprisingly the army surpassing both gave clean chit to the ‘killers’ and closed the case,” he said.
Rashid said nobody can deny this fact that Pathribal shooting was a fake encounter and all the five persons killed in the incident were innocent civilians. “Can anybody challenge the DNA report prepared by a Kolkatta lab. When witnesses after cross examination maintained that government forces killed five civilians in cold blood then how come army close the case and allow perpetrators to roam free,” he said.
He said CBI in its report that was also approved by Supreme Court categorically maintained that Security Forces were under tremendous pressure after Chattisinghpora incident. “CBI in its report maintained that in order to show their performance and give an impression that killers of Chattisinghpora were gunned down by forces, Army staged a fake encounter and killed five civilians in Pathribal,” he said.
The son of slain civilian said that he himself appeared before an army court at Victor Force base in Awantipora. “I was cross questioned but I recorded my statement with other witnesses terming Patthribal as a fake encounter,” he said.
The son of another slain civilian, Shakoor Khan said they don’t expect any justice from India. “The decision about Pathribal has shocked us and it seems somebody has strangled us. How can army overrule CBI and the apex court of the country. Does it mean that army is powerful and can do anything,” Shakoor said, adding that he is the lone brother among six sisters and his father was innocent.
Both Rashid and Shakoor said media is their only hope. “We are not relying on media but also on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. We are sure that Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir will raise his voice in favour of victims and play a cardinal role in delivering justice to them,” they said.