New Delhi, Nov 13: Seven armymen including two officers on Thursday were sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in the Machil fake encounter case that had triggered protests in the Kashmir valley for two months in 2010.
With the sentence, the service benefits of the convicted army personnel have been suspended.
In Jammu and Kashmir's Machil sector in 2010, three youths were killed in a staged encounter after being lured for a job in the Army. They were dubbed as Pakistani terrorists. The victims were Mohamad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed, all residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district.
According to the local residents, the three were unarmed civilians, who were lured by some other civilians, who were the sources for the Army. They were taken to the LoC and killed. They were framed as infiltrating guerrillas.
The Army had ordered a probe into the killing after the incident, accusing a Major rank officer of entering into a criminal conspiracy with some locals to eliminate the three youths by labelling them as terrorists.
Col DK Pathania, Commanding Officer (CO) of 4 Rajput Regiment, and Major Upinder of the same regiment, were named as the main accused by the J&K Police in the April 30 Machil encounter case.
The court martial proceedings began in January this year and ended in September. The soldiers were found guilty of killing civilians, hatching a conspiracy and later branding the dead as Pakistani militants.
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