J&K Govt says Machhil encounter starting point of unrest | india | Hindustan Times
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J&K Govt says Machhil encounter starting point of unrest

india Updated: Oct 03, 2010 16:57 IST

The alleged fake encounter of three youths in Machhil in north Kashmir by Army personnel was the starting point of present trouble in the Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah informed the state assembly.

The Chief Minister, while replying to written questions on Friday, said this situation was further exploited by the separatists groups to suit their agenda which led to the violence resulting in killing of 98 people.

"Kashmir Valley has witnessed a cycle of violence instigated by the separatists over the alleged human rights violations with specific reference to the death of three persons, who were allegedly killed in a fake encounter at Machhil, Kupwara," Omar, who also holds the Home portfolio, said in a written reply to a question in Legislative assembly.

In the aftermath of the Machhil killings, separatists launched a secessionist movement which led to the outbreak of violent protest all across the Kashmir Valley, the Chief Minister said, adding the subsequent civilian causalities during the engagements between the protesters and the security forces flared up the situation.

The Chief Minister said Government property worth crores of rupees has been damaged or set ablaze during the ongoing unrest in the valley.

"So far, as the tax collections are concerned, the impact of the disruption in normal trading activity on these collections and the resultant loss to the state exchequer shall be known at the end of October as traders are required to remit tax on quarterly basis," he said while responding part of the question pertaining to losses caused by the unrest.

Government put the number of civilians killed from May this year to September 21 at 98, saying 537 civilians were injured during the same period.

On April 30, three youth from Baramulla district were allegedly shot dead in a fake encounter in the Machhil sector of Kupwara near the Line of Control and passed off as infiltrator from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a probe by Jammu and Kashmir Police found.

The alleged fake encounter sparked low intensity protests in several parts of the Valley, leading to separate inquiries by police and army into the incident.

The Army removed the Commanding officer of the concerned unit Colonel D K Pathania and suspended his second in command Major Upendra Singh, a day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the Valley.

Later, police filed charge sheet against the army Colonel, two Majors and six of its personnel for allegedly murdering the three youths.