Srinagar: The Army has relieved a Colonel
of his command and suspended a Major for their alleged
involvement in the killing of three youths in a fake encounter
in April in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Commanding Officer (CO) of 4 Rajput Regiment Colonel DK Pathania has been relieved of his command while Major
Upinder of the 4 Rajput Regiment, who was named as the main
accused by the J&K Police in the April 30 Machil encounter
case, has also been removed from active duty.
"The Colonel has been removed from the command. The
second officer has been suspended as of now and the inquiry
has been ordered," Lieutenant General BS Jaiswal, chief of
Army`s Northern Command, said today.
"Commanding Officer Colonel DK Pathania has been
asked not to leave the Valley till inquiry is completed in the
alleged fake encounter," Army sources said. He was about to
leave the Valley and join his regiment which has been
relocated to Meerut.
"Major Upinder has been named main accused in the fake
encounter and he too has been removed from active duty", they
General Jaiswal said, "It (inquiry) will be totally
transparent and the truth will be there.... The inquiry is on.
"Our genuine concern is to be transparent. This is the
first step. And this should be the indicator that subsequently
we will be coming out with the truth," he said.
The Army had ordered an inquiry into the killing after
the police filed a report accusing the Major of entering into
a criminal conspiracy with some locals to eliminate the three
youths by labelling them as terrorists.
This is the second time that the Army has removed a
serving officer from a command. Earlier, Colonel Gloria of 33
Rashtriya Rifles was removed for allegedly killing three boys
who were playing cricket in a playground in Dudipora-Handwara
in February 2006, three months after he had taken over the
reins of the counter-insurgency unit.
The sources said that the police inquiry relied
heavily on the statement of a trooper of 161 battalion of the
Territorial army in Gauntmullah Baramulla who told
investigators about the alleged involvement of the Major.
Soldier Abbass was among three persons including a
former Special Police Officer arrested by the police in the
Machil fake encounter case.
Meanwhile, the police have recorded the statements of
the parents of the three slain youths after taking them to
Earlier, Chief Judicial Magistrate Sopore had recorded
the statements of close relatives of the three youths.