Jammu: The Indian Army has refused to hand over five soldiers, including a colonel and a major, charged with the killing of three villagers in Kupwara in April to the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The Army says that an internal enquiry was on against its men for the alleged killing of the three in Machil village in April, informed sources said on Sunday.
The police had filed the chargesheet in a court against Colonel DK Pathania and four other soldiers. They were charged with killing the three and then claiming they died in a shootout.
"The five men are facing an internal enquiry. They cannot be handed over to police unless charges against them are proved," an Army source said.
"The Army has instituted its own enquiry. Until the results of that are known, there is no question of handing over the men to police," the source said.
Riyaz Ahmad, Mohammad Shafi and Shahzad Ahmad, killed in the alleged staged shootout, were shown as "infiltrators".
But a persistent enquiry by the state police about the place where they were buried and publication of pictures of the bodies unravelled that they were villagers and did not go over to Pakistan.
They left their homes on April 27 in search of lucrative jobs and were killed on April 30.