Machil victims' families say will rejoice only when the killers are punished
Standing near three graves in the roadside cemetery, a group of villagers guide visitors to the houses of Shezad, Shafi and Riyaz who were allegedly lured by informers to an Army camp on the Line of Control and killed in a fake encounter in 2010.
Three years of despair made way for some good news for the families of the three men Wednesday as the Army decided to initiate court martial proceedings against six of its men, including two officers, for their alleged role in what has come to be known as the Machil fake encounter.
"Everybody is greeting us. But justice will be done when all the accused, including civilian informers of the Army, get death penalty,'' said Riyaz's 65-year-old father Mohammad Yusuf Lone.
"We have received only Rs 1 lakh as compensation and all of it was spent on the court and travel expenses. I am now taking loans from neighbours to pursue this case. I want to see the killers of my son hanged,'' he said as he showed photographs of his dead son to visitors.
The picturesque village surrounded by apple orchards on the Baramulla-Kupwara highway has been in the news since 2010 when bodies of the three youth, who were dubbed as foreign militants and buried on the LoC, were exhumed and buried in the village.
Now, it is not just the three families but also other villagers who are tracking the case and want speedy justice.
Riyaz's mother Naseema says she is perturbed over civilians involved in the case not being punished.
"Even during the court proceedings in Baramulla, two civilians whose relatives are in the police gave us death threats. Soon after the killings, the chief minister, cabinet ministers and other leaders from mainstream political parties promised speedy action. But still civilians against whom cases have been established have not been punished," she said.