Srinagar: The Army has decided to try its five officers accused in the Pathribal fake encounter in 2000 in a General Court Martial (GCM), eight weeks after the Supreme Court gave it the option to choose the mode of trial.
The ruling National Conference welcomed the Army`s decision and hoped that the proceedings and results are made transparent so that there is no scope for any allegations or feeling of a cover up.
The Army moved an application before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar, the designated CBI court, seeking transfer of the Pathribal fake encounter case to the GCM, a court official said today.
Brigadier Ajay Saxena, Lt Col Brajendra Pratap Singh, Major Sourabh Sharma, Major Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan were chargesheeted by the CBI in 2006 in connection with the killing of five civilians in Anantnag district in March 2000 who were later dubbed by them as foreign militants.
The court official said the CJM has directed transferring the records including the chargesheet and other material evidence to the GCM through the Army`s authorised officer.
The Army`s decision came after the Supreme Court on May one gave eight weeks time to it to decide whether the accused officers will be tried in the GCM or face a trial in the civilian court.
As per the CBI investigation, the five civilians were killed and branded as militants days after 35 Sikhs were massacred in the nearby Chattisingpora village.
"It`s a welcome step but we demand that the proceedings and results be made transparent so that there is no scope for any allegations or feeling of a cover up," NC spokesman Tanvir Sadiq said in a statement.
He said it will be a positive development if the proceedings go ahead and the guilty are punished in a transparent manner.
Meanwhile, the relatives of victims voiced their disappointment over the development saying "there is little hope for justice".
"We have never heard what happens inside the court martial proceedings...The results are never made public," Rashid Khan, son of one of the victims Jumma Khan, said.