Race for Army Chief: Janglat Mandi encounter may mar Gen Bikram’s chances
Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012 at 12:26
Petition seeking re-investigation into 10-yr-old case to decide his fate
SRINAGAR, JAN 09: The chances of Lt. Gen Bikram Singh, army’s Eastern Command chief to become new chief of Indian army may be hit hard by the alleged Janglat Mandi fake encounter case as a writ petition in this regard is still pending before Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
The tenure of present army chief General V K Singh is likely to end in May this year following controversy surrounding his date of birth.
Eastern Command Chief Lt Gen Bikram Singh, Northern Commander chief Lt Gen K T Parnaik and present Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen Krishna Singh are the front runners to succeed General Singh. Traditionally, the senior-most officer is appointed as the army chief and in this case Lt Gen Bikram Singh is the senior-most and most-likely to be appointed for the top post.
However, chances of Lt Gen Bikram Singh may be hit hard by alleged Janglat Mandi fake encounter case. The outcome of the writ petition pending disposal before J&K High Court is crucial and may ultimately decide his fate. In the second scenario, if General Singh decided to take the D.O.B row to Court, then Northern Command Chief Lt. General Parnaik has fair chances to succeed him as new Army chief.
It is pertinent to mention here J&K High Court had on October 13, 2011 issued notices to State government and Indian Defence Ministry and asked them to file their objections in a writ petition, seeking reinvestigation of the alleged fake encounter that took place at Janglat Mandi Islamabad in 2001. The court had summoned all the records pertaining to case (FIR 72/2001) from District Sessions Court Islamabad for perusal.
In the writ petition titled Zaituna versus J&K State, it was alleged that the encounter that took place at Janglat Mandi, Islamabad on March 1, 2001 was not genuine but a fake encounter in which many innocent Kashmiris were killed by army and government sponsored gunmen Ikhwanis’ and later passed off as foreign militants.
Contesting claims of Army and police that an elderly foreign militant identified as Mateen Chacha was killed in the encounter, the petition submitted to court that the elderly man dubbed as foreign militant was a civilian.
“The fact is that Mateen was none other than 70 year old civilian Abdullah Bhat son of Qadir Bhat of Machil Kupwara”, said petitioners Zaituna and Jana (mother and sister of the Abdullah Bhat).
The petition has sought re-investigation in the case and prayed that Special Investigation Team of police be tasked to book the culprits.
“We have been running from pillar to post to know the whereabouts of Abdullah Bhat. Somehow they came to know that he was gunned down by forces in 2001 in Janglat Mandi, Islamabad and labeled as a foreign militant”, the petitioners said and demanded that the grave of victim should be identified and DNA test carried out.
They said DNA profile of the deceased should be matched with those of the family members. “The photographs of the victim taken by the police should be shown to family”, they further demanded.
In the encounter, whose veracity is under challenge before the court, besides, Abdullah Bhat two civilians and two army men were also killed. The dead included Colonel J P Jam, the then Commanding Officer of a local R R Unit, Sepoy Ganesh Kumar, Mohammad Shafi son of Abdul Rasheed of Hazratbal Islamabad and Abdul Ahad Sheikh son of Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh of Janglat Mandi.
According to police FIR, two persons also sustained injuries in the 2001 encounter and they included present Eastern Command chief Lt Gen Bikram Singh, who was a Brigadier then and headed 5 Sector Rashtriya Rifles headquarters at Khanabal Islamabad. A civilian Ajaz Ahmad Bhat son of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat of S K Colony Islamabad was also injured.
Meanwhile, police has absolved Eastern Command chief of all the charges.
“We have nothing against him as far investigation of the case is concerned”, DGP Kuldeep Khoda told Rising Kashmir.
Sources said police higher ups had recently sought a report from the concerned police district (Islamabad) and it said the encounter was genuine and there was no case against Lt Gen Bikram Singh.
The petition seeking re-investigation of Janglat Mandi fake encounter was listed for hearing before Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar on December 28. However, the petition was deferred and is now expected to be listed for further hearing in February, when High Court, Srinagar re-convenes after month long winter vacations.
The Janglat Mandi “fake” encounter was first highlighted by a youth empowerment organization namely Youth Empowerment Services of Kashmir (YES-Kashmir), headed by Tanweer Ahmad, who in November 2011 held a protest march in New Delhi to highlight the real story behind Janglat Mandi encounter
Race for Army Chief: Janglat Mandi encounter
Comment: Why Fake encounters were encouraged earlier by the AHQ? This was primarily to win the race for the next promotion- a mandatory requirement of a Gallantry award is essential for racing and climbing up the ladder! All fake encouter authors must be identified and suitably punished for killing innocent lives rather than rewarding them to kill the organisation.
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