The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) which granted bail to five army men last week in Machil fake Encounter case had stated that those killed were terrorists because they wore Pathan suits, Hindustan Times reported.
“The fact that the accused persons were terrorists… cannot be ruled out because they were wearing Pathan suits which are worn by terrorists,” The newspaper quoted the written bail order.
The extra-judicial shooting came to be known as the Machil fake encounter in which three civilians were killed in cold blood by soldiers looking to collect a bounty on militants. Subsequently, an army court sentenced six soldiers, including a colonel, to life in jail but five of them went into appeal before the AFT in New Delhi.
According to the report, the AFT also believed the three young men killed were not civilians because they had ventured too close to the de facto border between India and Pakistan, which is often used by militants to infiltrate into India.
The tribunal is being presided over by Justice V K Shaili and Lt General SK Singh.
In granting bail to the five soldiers, the court also imputed motive behind a delay in filing of a police complaint by the parents of the dead men.
The bench said, “Complaint was belatedly filed only to garner some sympathy or getting material monetary compensation on account of the alleged killing of their child.”
The so-called Machil encounter saw three men – Shazad Khan (27), Shafi Lone (19) and Riyaz Lone (20) –killed in a staged shooting in the early hours of April 30, 2010 at Sona Pindi in Machil sector of the LoC.
The AFT had faced severe criticism from various quarters on their decision to grant bail to the five army men accused in Machil encounter.
Former Chief Minister and working President of National Confrence Omar Abdullah took to twitter to express his displeasure on the decision by the army court.
“They wore Pathan suits, which are worn by terrorists…..”. What an unbelievably scary justification. You can be killed for what you wear!” Omar Abdullah wrote on social media platform twitter on Saturday.
Meanwhile, president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party and Member of Parliament Lok Sabha Asaduddin Owaisi termed the decision as shocking and asked if National Conference leader should stop wearing the Pathan suit in the parliament.
“Terrorist wear Pathan suits, shocking reasons to give bail should Farooq Abdullah stop wearing it while attending Parliament?” he wrote on twitter.