Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti Monday welcomed an Army court’s decision to recommend life imprisonment for a captain of the force in connection with the killing of three labourers in a “staged” encounter in Amshipura area of Shopian district in 2020.
She expressed hope that an impartial probe would also be ordered into the Lawaypora and Hyderpora encounters that took place in 2021.
Retweeting a news report on the development, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said, “Recommended punishment of life imprisonment for Captain involved in Amshipora fake encounter is a welcome step towards creating accountability in such cases. Hope an impartial probe is also ordered in Lawapora and Hyderpora encounters to prevent the repetition of such ghastly incidents (sic).”
Completing general court-martial proceedings in less than a year, an Army court has recommended life imprisonment for a captain in connection with the killing of three men in a “staged” encounter in Amshipura in south Kashmir in July 2020, officials said Sunday.
Captain Bhoopendra Singh was subjected to court martial after a Court of Inquiry and Summary of Evidence found that troops had “exceeded” powers vested under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), they said.
The life sentence is subject to confirmation by higher army authorities, the officials said.
Later, while discussing the Army court’s recommendation with various party leaders, Mehbooba said it is a positive step towards upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice for the victims.
“It sends a strong message that such acts of violence and abuse of power by those in uniform will not be tolerated,” she added.
For ensuring accountability and inculcating a proactive will for responsibility and justice among security forces, Mehbooba said this case highlights the need for better accountability and oversight mechanisms within the armed forces to prevent such incidents from happening.
“Going forward, it is crucial that the armed forces take concrete steps to ensure that their personnel adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct,” she said.
That the accused was able to commit such a heinous crime and pass off innocent civilians as militants raise serious concerns about the “culture of impunity and lack of accountability that often pervades within the military”, the PDP chief said.
To build trust between the civilian population and the military and work towards a peaceful and just society, Mehbooba sought conducting thorough investigations into Lawaypora and Hyderpora encounters and holding the perpetrators accountable for their actions.
She also pinned her hopes on the investigating agencies to probe the recent case, in which the body of Rashid Dar of Kunan village in Kupwara was found in a forest “after he went missing in army custody two months earlier”.