Jammu: The Congress on Thursday welcomed the court-martial proceedings against six Army personnel for their alleged involvement in 2010 Machchil fake encounter case, and said it would go a long way to further strengthen discipline in the armed forces.
"I welcome the decision to institute a court martial against the army personnel who had manoeuvred a fake encounter at Machchil (Kashmir), which had resulted in the death of three innocent persons," Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president Saifuddin Soz said in statement today.
Over three years after the Machchil fake encounter that fuelled widespread unrest in the Kashmir Valley, the Army had yesterday ordered court martial against six of its men including a Colonel and a Major for allegedly gunning down three youths and labelling them as militants.
Official sources said those who will face proceedings include Col DK Pathania, Commanding Officer of 4 Rajput Regiment Major Upinder, and four of its men.
The incident came to light on April 30, 2010 when the bodies of three youths were shown by Army as militants who were trying to sneak into the Valley from higher reaches of Machchil in North Kashmir with arms and ammunition. It had later claimed that they were Pakistani terrorists.
However, it was established by the Jammu and Kashmir Police that the unemployed youths -- Mohamad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed -- were residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district and were apparently misled on the pretext of giving jobs and later shot dead.
"Obviously, the Army has established a prima facie case against the wrongdoers and instituted an inquiry. There was a public outcry in Kashmir at that time," Soz said.
"...The Army has largely performed it`s duty well on the borders. But those who violate human rights shall have to be identified and punished under law of the land," he said, adding that "nobody, under such circumstances, should be allowed to go scot-free".
This action which will go a long way to further strengthen discipline in the Army, he said.