`Machhil encounter starting point of J&K unrest`

The alleged fake encounter of 3 youths in Machhil was the reason behind trouble in the Valley.

Last Updated: Oct 03, 2010, 19:25 PM IST

Srinagar: The alleged fake encounter of
three youths in Machhil in north Kashmir by Army personnel was
the starting point of present trouble in the Kashmir Valley,
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah informed the
state assembly.

The Chief Minister, while replying to written
questions on Friday, said this situation was further exploited
by the separatists groups to suit their agenda which led to
the violence resulting in killing of 98 people.

"Kashmir Valley has witnessed a cycle of violence
instigated by the separatists over the alleged human rights
violations with specific reference to the death of three
persons, who were allegedly killed in a fake encounter at
Machhil, Kupwara," Omar, who also holds the Home portfolio,
said in a written reply to a question in Legislative assembly.

In the aftermath of the Machhil killings, separatists
launched a secessionist movement which led to the outbreak of
violent protest all across the Kashmir Valley, the Chief
Minister said, adding the subsequent civilian causalities
during the engagements between the protesters and the security
forces flared up the situation.

The Chief Minister said Government property worth
crores of rupees has been damaged or set ablaze during the
ongoing unrest in the valley.

"So far, as the tax collections are concerned, the
impact of the disruption in normal trading activity on these
collections and the resultant loss to the state exchequer
shall be known at the end of October as traders are required
to remit tax on quarterly basis," he said while responding
part of the question pertaining to losses caused by the
unrest.

Government put the number of civilians killed from May
this year to September 21 at 98, saying 537 civilians were
injured during the same period.

On April 30, three youth from Baramulla district were
allegedly shot dead in a fake encounter in the Machhil sector
of Kupwara near the Line of Control and passed off as
infiltrator from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a probe by Jammu
and Kashmir Police found.

The alleged fake encounter sparked low intensity
protests in several parts of the Valley, leading to separate
inquiries by police and army into the incident.

The Army removed the Commanding officer of the
concerned unit Colonel D K Pathania and suspended his second
in command Major Upendra Singh, a day before Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh visited the Valley.

Later, police filed charge sheet against the army
Colonel, two Majors and six of its personnel for allegedly
murdering the three youths.

PTI