J&K HC adjourns case against Lt Gen Bikram Singh



J&K HC adjourns case against Lt Gen Bikram Singh Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday adjourned for two weeks the hearing of the alleged fake encounter case involving Army Chief designate General Bikram Singh.

Justice Hasnain Masoodi adjourned the hearing of the case as Advocate General Mohammad Ishaq Qadri was not available to argue the case.

The judge directed that the case be listed after two weeks for hearing, subject to availability of the bench, when the state government and the Union of India will put forth their arguments.

The case took a new turn yesterday as the petitioner told the High Court that the genuineness of the incident was not in doubt but questions on identity of the assailant remained.

Zaffar Qureshi, the counsel for the petitioner, today reiterated his plea for carrying out a DNA test on the body of the man claimed to be Pakistani militant Mateen Chacha.

"We are not saying that the militant attack (on the motorcade of the then Brigadier, Singh) did not take place. We are seeking reinvestigation of the incident to establish the identity of the person dubbed as a foreign militant and the assailant," Qureshi said.

Gen Singh is due to take over from Gen VK Singh on May 31.

Zaituna, a woman from Kalaroos in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, has filed a petition before the High Court claiming that the slain man dubbed as Hizbul Mujahideen militant Mateen Chacha was her son Abdullah Bhat.

As per the Army stand, a militant disguised as beggar opened indiscriminate firing on Singh and his entourage at Janglat Mandi in Anantnag district town of south Kashmir on March 1, 2001. The troops fired back in self-defence resulting in the death of the assailant who was identified by police as Mateen Chacha, a resident of Pakistan.

One Army officer, an army jawan and two civilians were also killed in the incident, in which Gen Singh who was then commanding 1 sector Rashtriya Rifles in south Kashmir was injured and flown to Delhi.

A PIL was also filed in the Supreme Court last month challenging the appointment of Gen Singh as the next Army Chief, citing the 2001 fake encounter case among other issues. It was, however, dismissed by the apex court.

PTI