ANANTNAG: The closure of Pathribal fake encounter case by the army last year has not dampened the spirit of the victim families to fight for justice with poor families of two of the victims organizing a remembrance meet on the fifteenth anniversary of the incident in remote Brariaangan village of this south Kashmir district.
“For army Pathribal might be a closed chapter but our resolve to fight for justice is still as alive as it was fifteen years back. Our spirit to keep the fight going will die only with our death,” said Rashid Khan, son of a victim and key witness into the case.
Rashid’s father, Juma Khan was one of the five persons killed in the fake encounter on this day fifteen years ago. Army later dubbed the victims as foreign militants claiming that they were involved in the massacre of thirty five Sikhs in Chattisinghpora which had been carried out by the uniformed unidentified gunmen only a couple of days ago.
The case was handed over to India’s premier investigating agency, CBI which in its report described the killings as cold blooded murders and indicted five army officers for the same. The Supreme Court on the basis of the CBI report asked the army to choose between the civil court and court martial for the trial of its accused. After opting for the later, the army court, however, closed the case last year giving clean chit to all of its accused officials.
Khan, who has been leading from the front in his fight for justice said that the wounds inflicted on them by the killers refuse to heal even after the fifteen years. “The wounds of how the killers after shooting our loved ones dead had defaced them are still fresh in our minds. So the remembrance meet we are going to organize in our village tomorrow is aimed at conveying the killers that we have not and will never forget our loved ones,” Khan said.
“May be the family members of some of the victims have forgotten but I am neither suffering from forgetfulness nor I am so coward to give up fight for justice,” he told Kashmir Reader. Khan’s younger brother, Zahoor Ahmad was also killed when the SOG men fired upon the protesters near Brakpora who were demanding exhumation of the bodies of five civilians killed in the fake encounter. “At the remembrance meet we will be wearing black head bands as a mark of protest against the denial of justice,” he said.
He said that they had lost all the hopes of justice when the army decided to try its accused officials in court martial last year. “The army court verdict was expected. But world knows the truth about Pathribal case,” he said.
He, however, asked the chief minister Mufti Mohammad Syed and prime minister, Narindra Modi to intervene and deliver justice to the victim families. “We have come to know through the news papers that the army men involved in the Machil fake encounter have been punished. If that is true I fail to understand why they are shielding the killers of our loved ones despite being indicted by their own investigating agency,” Khan said. He said that if Mufti really believes in healing touch let him heal the wounds of the ‘families of Pathribal fake encounter victims’.