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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Activists slam Omar for choosing Machil as cabinet meeting venue

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, September 11, 2012
First Published: 22:00 IST(11/9/2012) | Last Updated: 22:02 IST(11/9/2012)

The decision of chief minister Omar Abdullah to have his cabinet meeting at north Kashmir's Machil area in Kupwara district, which hit the headlines in 2010 for a staged encounter that left three civilians dead, has human rights activists up in arms.

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"It's brazen on the part of the chief minister to hold a cabinet meeting at an infamous place where three innocent civilians were killed during his tenure and no justice has been done till date," said Kurram Pervez, coordinator of the J-K Coalition of Civil Society (CCS), a rights body that unearthed and highlighted the issue of more than 2,000 unmarked graves in the valley.

"It seems the chief minister is trying to blow the peace bugle at a very wrong location. Such exercises smacks of nothing but psychological operation. He seems to ask people to forget the past," said Pervez.

Situated near the Line of Control, Machil, more than 100 km away from Srinagar, will host a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Most of the district officials have started moving to Machil since Monday. Eighteen cabinet ministers will join Omar for the meeting.

Machil attracted a media spotlight in May 2010 when three youth, all residents of Nadihal village in Baramulla district, were allegedly lured by a former cop on the pretext of jobs and handed over to the army for Rs. 50,000 each.

Later, the army passed them as foreign militants and said that they were killed in an encounter near the LoC while       trying to infiltrate into Kashmir valley.

The police have chargesheeted 11 people including a colonel and two majors of the Army before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (SJM) Sopore. The case is in its second year now and the justice eludes the family.

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