The Indian Army on Monday confirmed the life sentences of six army personnel, including two army officers in the 2010 Machil fake encounter case.
“General Officer Commanding in Chief, Northern Command has confirmed the sentence of the Summary General Court Martial in the Machil Encounter case,” the army said in a statement. “Colonel Dinesh Pathania, Captain Upendra, Havildar Devendra Kumar, Lance Naik Lakhmi, Lance Naik Arun Kumar and Rifleman Abbas Hussain have been awarded life imprisonment.”
The case relates back to 2010 when Shezad Ahmad, Riyaz Ahmad and Mohammad Shafi from Nadihal village in Baramulla were lured by two local police, promising them a job as porters for the army. The army soldiers of 4 Rajputana Rifles killed the three villagers near the Sona Pindi post and said they were “Pakistani militants.”
The incident happened on April 30, 2010. The Indian army claimed they foiled an infiltration from Pakistan across the Line of Control, in the Machil Sector of Kupwara district, Jammu and Kashmir. The encounter was staged so the soldiers could claim a cash award.
11 days later, on June 11, protests against these killings started in downtown Srinagar. To disperse the youth protestors, Srinagar Police used massive force, including firing tear gas. One teargas bullet killed a seventeen-year-old boy (Tufail Ahmad Mattoo) playing cricket in Gani memorial Stadium. Protest marches across the Valley in response to the killings turned violent. This led to a vicious circle of protests and more killings.