SRINAGAR: New Delhi- based human rights group, People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) Tuesday condemned the closure of Pathribal fake encounter case by army and demanded the case be handed over to a civilian court.
In a statement, the rights body said that the “dismissal of charges by the Army’s 15 Corps against four senior officers, a retired Major General, two Colonels, a Lt Colonel and a Subedar, belonging to 7 Rashtriya Rifles was a requiem for justice denied.”
“The five were accused of abduction, killing, followed by mutilation of the dead bodies along with fake recoveries of weapons and ammunition, on 25th March 2000 in Pathribal,” the statement said, lamenting that the nearly fifteen-year struggle to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice has come to a grinding halt.
The statement said that a CBI inquiry into the fake encounter charged five army personnel under S.120 B (Punishment of Criminal Conspiracy) read with S.342 (Wrongful Confinement), 364 (Kidnapping for Murder), 302 (Murder) and 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information to screen offenders) of the IPC.
PUDR statement said that the rights body wished to draw attention to the fact that “Pathribal case was a rarity.”
“Few cases of security force excesses are investigated, let alone reach the stage of a charge-sheet. It was an opportunity to send a clear message that criminal acts of the army would not be condoned; that constitutional rights are inalienable and that courts exist for their protection,” the statement said.
The PUDR demanded that “the Pathribal case be handed over to a civilian court.”
“All crimes committed by the Armed Forces of the Union against civilians must be tried in a civilian court, as is consistent with the interest of justice,” the statement said, and added “all provisions that create impunity, including but not limited to AFSPA, are forthwith withdrawn.”