For the very first time in last 25 years the Army’s Northern Command on 7 September confirmed life imprisonment to six Army personnel by a General Court-Martial in the 2010 Machil fake encounter case.
Though the sentence had been awarded around September last year, the Northern Command has endorsed it now.
Those convicted include the then-commanding officer of the 4 Rajput regiment, Colonel DK Pathania, Captain Upendra Singh, Havildar Devendra Kumar, Lance Naik Lakhmi, Lance Naik Arun Kumar and Rifleman Abbas Hussain Shah of the Territorial Army.
They have been held guilty of luring three Kashmiri youth – Shehzad Ahmad, Riyaz Ahmad and Mohammad Shafi – to Kalaroos in Kupwara by promising jobs and money. The youth were later shot dead and dubbed as the terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan.
The discovery that the killings were fake had touched off a torrent of protests in the Valley lasting five months. Around 120 youth – most of them teenagers – were killed in the unrest.
Over the last five years, Machil had found a place among the biggest cases of the human rights violations in the state.