Wednesday, April 11, 2012

File objections in encounter involving Gen Singh

The State High Court today granted one week’s time to the Government to file objections in the Janglat Mandi alleged fake encounter case of 2001 in which it was alleged that a civilian was killed and then dubbed as a militant. 

The case assumed significance since the name of Lt. General Bikram Singh has cropped up. Lt. General Singh was the Brigadier of 1 Sector, Rashtriya Rifles, Anantnag at the time encounter took place in which four persons including two civilians and an army officer were killed. Lt. Gen Singh is Army chief designate. 

Court of Justice Hasnain Masoodi after hearing Deputy Advocate General, Ala-ud-din Ganie today directed the State Government to file their objections within one week. The Deputy Advocate General prayed that time should be given to the state in filing the objections. Following this, the court admitted his plea and directed the State Government to file the objections in one week’s time.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Anantnag, who is one of the respondents has already submitted his objections in the case. It would be in place to mention here that SSP Anantnag has before the court that the petitioners never approached them with the plea seeking reinvestigation of the case.

The police report has already rubbished the claim that the encounter at Janglat Mandi was fake saying the death of two civilians, an army officer and a soldier were facts to the contrary.

The case was listed for today on the submission of senior counsel K S Johal, representing Union of India, that the case should be listed earliest.

The petition has been filed by Zaituna, who is claiming that her son Abdullah Bhat is innocent and is not a militant as claimed by the army. Army dubbed Abdullah Bhat as Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Ramzie, as a foreign militant saying that he was a resident of Pakistan. 

Zaituna, a resident of Kalaroos in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, filed the petition before the High Court last year through her counsel Zaffar Ahmad Qureshi seeking reinvestigation of case on the plea that the alleged militant was her son Abdullah Bhat, who was not involved in militancy.

Lt. Gen Singh who is Eastern Army Commander was a Brigadier commanding the 1 Sector Rashtriya Rifles in South Kashmir at the time of encounter. He was injured in the militant attack left four persons, including an Army officer and two civilians dead. 

The dead included Colonel J P Jam, the then Commanding Officer of a local RR unit, Sepoy Ganesh Kumar, Muhammad Shafi son of Abdul Rasheed of Hazratbal-Anantnag, and Abdul Ahad Sheikh son of Ghulam Muhammad Sheikh of Janglat Mandi-Anantnag.

Another person was killed in the retaliatory action of the army and police later ‘identified’ him as a resident of Pakistan.

On October 13, 2011 the High Court served notices to Ministry of Defence and state government asking them to file objection within a week. Earlier, a single bench of High Court had directed District and Sessions Judge-Anantnag to submit all the records pertaining the case in the court before October 18.

Pertinently, a group of retired officers and bureaucrats had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Supreme Court to prevent Lt General Bikram Singh from taking Army’s top post.

The PIL filed by a group of retired officers and bureaucrats headed by Admiral Laxmi Narayan Ramdas, who retired as the Navy Chief, stated: "In March 2001, a 60-year-old man was killed in encounter by the Army in Anantnag and Lieutenant General Singh was then a Brigadier heading 1 Sector Rashtriya Rifles headquartered in Anantnag. He was injured in the encounter and was given a gallantry medal. A colonel and another soldier were also killed in the encounter."

The petition further stated that Lt General Singh failed to take action against officers who were involved in sexual harassment and rape when they were posted at Congo in 2008 as part of the UN Peace-Keeping Mission.

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