7 soldiers convicted for killing civilians in Indian-controlled Kashmir
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 19:20, November 13, 2014
NEW DELHI, Nov. 13 -- The Indian army Thursday convicted seven soldiers, including two officers, sentencing them to life imprisonment for a staged killing of three Kashmiri Muslim civilians and passing it off as an anti-terrorist operation for rewards in 2010, said local media.
The seven were sentenced in a martial court by the army in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, according to the reports.
On April 30, 2010, three civilians were lured to work as porters for the Indian army in Kupwara district of Indian- controlled kashmir, and later were killed by the soldiers who wanted to get rewards for killing terrorists.
The soldiers also applied black paint on the clean-shaven faces of the slain, placed weapons on them and said they had killed foreign militants. It was later found that they were the three civilians missing from a village called Rafiabad.
The staged killings, known as the Machil fake encounter case, became one of the important reasons for the 2010 mass protests in Kashmir in which the police and para-miliary police killed more than 120 young unarmed protestors, all of them Muslims.
Indian-controlled Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted about the sentence calling it a welcome step and a watershed moment.
'No one in Kashmir ever believed that justice would be done in such cases. Faith in institutions disappeared. I hope that we never see such Machil fake encounter type of incidents ever again and let this serve as a warning to those tempted to try,' Abdullah tweeted.
Violence by the Indian army against Muslim civilians took place frequently in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Late last month, two young civilians were killed and two others were injured by the Indian army in Kashmir. The Indian army first claimed two of their soldiers were killed by militants but later admitted they killed the two civilians.
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