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In a first of its kind case, 7 army men have been sentenced to life imprisonment by an army court for their role in the Machil fake encounter that took place at the LOC on April 30, 2010. The incident caused a huge unrest and violent demonstrations all across Kashmir valley for several months. This verdict by the army court has come as a big relief for not only the families of the 3 innocent youth who were brutally murdered by army personnel in the name of encounter but also reflects a positive shift in human rights record of the army involved in handling militant activities.

Life Imprisonment in Machil Fake Encounter Case

The incident took place four years ago in Kupwara sector where 3 unemployed Kashmiri youth were lured on the pretext of giving them jobs by army personnel. They were then shot dead in cold blood and passed as Pakistani militants by some army men. There was massive unrest in the valley following this incident and 124 people lost their lives in demonstration that were held in the months to follow. Court martial proceedings began in January this year and they were completed in September. The army court has found the army personnel involved in this case guilty on charges of plotting a conspiracy and then killing 3 innocent civilians. They have been also charged guilty for branding the dead bodies of these youths as Pakistani militants.

Also Read: U.S. Feels the Need for U.N. Intervention in Indo-Pak Conflict

When the news of this verdict reached the village of the 3 youths who were killed in this fake encounter, their families could not believe that justice had finally been delivered. They cried but rejoiced and said that they had lost all hopes of being given justice in this case. They say that now that army men involved in the killings have been punished, they want the civilians who lured the youths into the trap laid by the army personnel to be punished too.

Bashir Ahmad Lone, who was an informer of the state police, confessed before the magistrate that he gave 5000 Rupees each to the three boys and promised them more if they came to a specified place. Mohammad Shafi Lone, Riyaz Ahmad Lone, and Shahzad Ahmad Khan fell into the trap as they were promised jobs by this informer. They went to the LOC the next day where they were killed by the army personnel.

Read More: Pakistan Continues to Violate Ceasefire, No more Offering of Sweets by Indian Side

This verdict by the army court signals a paradigm shift in the policy of the army towards local people as it clearly indicates that the trigger happy attitude of army men will not be tolerated anymore by the authorities. There was a time when the performance of the soldiers was judged on the basis of the number of militants they had killed. Now that militancy has all been crushed because of the pressure and the offensive launched by the army, incidents like these started to surface to indicate the frustration among the ranks to prove its worth in handling terrorism and militancy.

Chef Minster of J&K has expressed his happiness and satisfaction over the landmark judgment against army personnel. He said, ‘I hope we never see such Machil fake encounter type of incidents ever again and let this serve as a warning to those tempted to try.’

About Sanjay Tandon

Sanjay Tandon is a graduate engineer from IIT Varanasi. He has been writing as a freelancer for many years. He loves to write on various niches. He is passionate about politics and economy and spends his free time watching news channels. He is also an expert on relationships.

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