Life sentence to six Army personnel
In a dimly lit room, Naseema Bano, mother of Riyaz Ahmed, a 22-year-old mechanic who was one among the three locals in the village who was killed in the Machil fake encounter in 2010, was busy with her daily chores.
When a group of media persons dropped at her single-storeyed modest house this afternoon to inform her about the Army convicting six of its men for killing her son along with the two locals in the fake encounter, she broke down.
Her relatives rushed to their mud and brick house without glass panes to console her.
“I am not satisfied with the judgment,” she said. “These men have killed my handsome young son. They should have been hanged,” she added.
Three youths — Riyaz Ahmad, Muhammad Shafi and Shahzad Ahmad — of Nadihal-Rafiabad of Baramulla were lured by former Special Police Officer Bashir Ahmad Lone and his accomplice Abdul Hameed on the pretext of getting them high-paying jobs and later handed them over to the Army for Rs 50,000 each.
The Army later killed them in a fake encounter in the Machil area and passed them off as foreign militants for getting promotions and awards.
Naseema said the life imprisonment to the soldiers did not mean anything to them.
“Riyaz was the sole bread earner in the family of 10 people. His death shattered us and we did not receive any compensation either from the government or from the Army,” she said.
The Army’s Northern Command on Monday confirmed the life sentence to the six Army personnel, including two Army officers, in the 2010 Machil fake encounter case.
Those given life sentence include Colonel Dinesh Pathania, Captain Upendra, Havildar Devendra Kumar, Lance Naik Lakhmi, Lance Naik Arun Kumar and Rifleman Abbas Hussain.
The Tribune was the first to break the story on the Army convicting its men on November 13, 2014, for killing three civilians in a staged encounter in the Machil sector in 2010.
Some 500 m away from the Naseema’s house is the house of another youth Mohammad Shafi, who too was killed in the fake encounter.
“While the Army should have hanged its men involved in the killing of the three youths from the village, we are concerned about the two civilians – Bashir Ahmed and Abdul Hameed – who are facing a trial in a civil court and have been threatening us even in the court. They should too be hanged as soon as possible,” said Ghulam Nabi Lone, uncle of slain Shafi. “Justice will be complete only when all those involved in the case are hanged,” he added.