(By Abdul Majid Zargar)
The Indian Army fully backed & supported by the State has done what it knows best. It has closed the Pathribal fake encounter case on the ground of non-availability of evidence, despite well established facts & plenty of unimpeachable evidence unearthed earlier by India’s own Investigative agency.
The conclusion was forgone the moment Supreme Court interpreted the law on prior sanctions for prosecuting Army personnel indulging in cold blooded murder of innocent civilians of Kashmir, in favor of the Army . The apex court, during the hearing of the same case had observed “You go to a place in exercise of AFSPA, you commit rape, you commit murder, then where is the question of sanction? It is a normal crime which needs to be prosecuted, and that is our stand.
AFSPA gave you “very limited protection” confined to action only in “discharge of duty”. But when the time for final judgment came-it reversed its own stand. It held the prior sanction of Central Govt. a necessary pre-requisite for launching prosecution even for heinous crimes committed outside the line of duty. It further gave Army the option of trying the accused in its own Kangaroo Court instead of a trying them in a civilian court for an offence established beyond doubt. The Army grabbed the option & summoned the families of the victims to Nagrota, the 16 Corps HQs in Jammu, on September 20, 2012, 300 miles away from their homes. Public protests prompted the case’s transfer to Awantipora. The witnesses understandably expressed fears about entering army camps. The 15 Corps at Srinagar defended the officials; its sister, the 16 Corps, claims to offer their victims a fair trial. The end result is before all of us to see, thanks to the Supreme Court. There can be no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice and this what Supreme Court’s decision has precisely achieved.
Pathribal Fake encounter is not only important for punishing army personnel involved in cold blood murder of five civilians but also vital for unearthing the hands behind slaughter of thirty five Sikhs in what is known as chittisinghpora massacre of March 2000.If the accused army personnel knew that the persons they killed in fake encounter were not the persons behind the said massacre, then there is a reason to believe that they also know who the actual killers behind the massacre were. One has to link this proposition in light of what Farooq Abdullah, the former chief Minster of J&K State said in his address at an annual convention of the Kashmir Sikh Sangat (KSS) in Jammu on 17th February 2008.
“There were some people who tried to scuttle the investigations. Some investigators were even threatened. I want to reveal the conspiracy behind the massacre, but as I am under an oath, I cannot do so”. This statement tells you all that is necessary to know as to who killed the innocents Sikhs of Chattisinghpora.
What is baffling is not what Indian State has done or is doing in the State of J&K? The surprise & consternation is over the criminal silence of international Community led by UN and its agencies charged with the task of upholding of human rights the world over. The Amnesty International or Human rights watch have done nothing concrete in Kashmir beyond issuing rhetorical & customary statements. What they fail to see is that Kashmir has become a human tragedy played out through myriad acts, the latest being the closure of Pathribal case.
Injustice is part of life in Kashmir and Kashmiris have long known that. But injustice underlined and enlarged by neglect of international community makes for an ugly and repulsive reality. Such is the state of a population brought to its knees, on the one hand by the State terror and on the other hand by the failure of those, supposedly in the business of upholding the human rights of its unfortunate citizens, to rise to the occasion and come to their rescue
By all modes, means and measures, it is the responsibility of international community to take instant action to stop this gradual genocide before it becomes too late to overcome the blistering situation in the State of Jammu & Kashmir – a Paradise on Earth, turned into a hell by sadistic Indian assailants. Silence is not an option for the international community.
The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feed back at firstname.lastname@example.org