Chief minister Omar Abdullah, has launched a full fledged verbal onslaught on the armed forces on the alleged fake encounter of Pathribal in Kashmir 12 years ago and at the same time upped the ante on the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Jammu and Kashmir-the prime target of Pakistani based and trained terrorists.
At the time when the Army and Indian Air Force were busy in rescuing and airlifting several hundreds of people marooned in heavy snow in the remote and inaccessible areas, there is a definite attempt to play politics on the issue.
Omar, not only made it a point to observe on Army’s plea in the Supreme Court that the trial of the alleged accused in the alleged fake encounter of Pathribal, where the army had claimed to have killed five terrorists responsible for the massacre of 35 Sikhs in March 2000, but also injected his “vow to remove AFSPA” in his message on the eve of Republic Day.
His father and the Union minister Farooq Abdullah described the encounter “fake”. Farooq was chief minister and Omar, a minister in the NDA government that time when the incident took place.
Ironically, it was the killing of eight villagers in Barakpora by police in Anantnag, where they were protesting against the disappearance of the fellow villagers on April 3, 2000 which spotlighted the alleged fake encounter in Pathribal. Even after the DNA samples were taken, the fact of the relations could not be established almost for next two years because of the tampering with of the samples by the state’s forensic laboratories.
While all this was happening – no one was trying to tell that who killed 35 Sikhs in Chittisinghpora-and why the DNA samples were tampered with and at whose behest.
“Politically, it suits the government to talk about AFSPA-because at the moment the people in the Valley and remote areas are crying for basic amenities, and their lives are being saved by the army and IAF,” said an army officer, without getting drawn into the debate on the special powers. “We, don’t speak in public, AFSPA is a matter of national security,” an army officer said echoing the" principled" stand that the army has taken on the issue.