The conclusion by the Army Court of Inquiry that the “evidence recorded could not establish a prima facie case against any of the accused” flies in the face of findings by the CBI, which accused five Rashtriya Rifles personnel of cold-blooded murder, and repeatedly stressed that the encounter was fake. Excerpts from the CBI’s chargesheet:
The Army Unit of 7 RR… was under tremendous psychological pressure to show some results… The then Col Ajay Saxena, the then Major B P Singh, Maj. Sourabh Sharma, Subedar Idrees Khan and other personnel… hatched a criminal conspiracy to pick up some innocent persons and stage manage an encounter to create an impression that the militants responsible for the Chhittisingh Pora killings had been neutralised.
Jumma Khan, 55 (son of Amirullah Khan), was abducted from his house by 10/12 gunmen in Army uniform in the night of 23/24.03.2000 at 0100 hrs… Jumma Khan, s/o Faqirullah Khan, (50), was abducted from his house by 5/6 gunmen in Army uniform in the same night at 0200 hrs. Zahoor Ahmed Dalai disappeared into thin air from village Mominabad in the evening of 24.03.2000 under mysterious circumstances. Further, Bashir Ahmed Bhatt and Mohd. Yousuf Malik of Hallen disappeared from village Sheerpora under suspicious circumstances on 24.03.2000 evening. The fact that they belonged to different villages situated in a radius of 5/6 kms; had not been seen together; were never seen in Army uniform; were never found in possession of weapons etc., and had no history of militant activity establishes that the encounter was fake.
Two among them were identified the very next day. One Moulvi Qasim of Pathribal, a relative, had identified the bodies of the two Juma Khans from Brari Angan village. When the dead bodies were subsequently exhumed, Mirza Noori identified the body of her husband from a cyst on his head and finger ring.
It is claimed in the ‘After Action Report’ by the Army Unit that Mohd. Yaqoob Wagey arrested in the Chhittisingh Pora massacre had given information on 24.03.2000 about the location of a hideout where a group of terrorists responsible for the massacre were likely to be hiding… But in the list of names of militants and overground workers given by Wagey, the names of five persons killed in this encounter do not figure…
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It is falsely claimed by the accused that the information given by Wagey (a local milkman) was shared by the SSP with them at 11 pm on 24.03.2000 and immediately ‘Operation Swift’ was planned. The investigation has disclosed that all the 5 killed persons were abducted well before that which amply establishes it to be a case of abduction and killing and destruction of evidence of commission of the said crime.
The accused persons have claimed that they had received information from Farooq Khan SSP… on 24.3.2000 night and had accordingly carried out operation ‘Swift’… in the morning of 25.03.2000… This has been found to be false… Farooq Khan and other police personnel have denied to have passed on any such information…
Yet another circumstance indicative of the encounter being false and stage managed is the fact that none of the 7 RR officers and men who participated in the encounter suffered any injuries at the hands of so called militants who, as per 7RR claim, exchanged fire with them.
After the so called encounter a memo was prepared regarding seizure of arms and ammunitions alleged to be belonging to the killed persons, by Major Amit Saxena. The memo was typed and bore his signatures. The memo is required to be prepared on the spot. If the encounter was genuine, no such typed memo could have been prepared on the spot… Importantly, the witnesses of this memo, namely, Farooq Ahmad Gujjar and Mohd. Ayub Gujjar have stated that their signatures were obtained on blank papers…
Zahoor Ahmad Dalal had died of burns and had 98 per cent burns. Bashir Ahmad Bhat’s body was with half of skull, face distorted and unidentifiable. He had 10 gun shot entry wounds and multiple injuries on his body. Juma Khan S/O Fakirullah had 97 percent burns, fracture of 5 ribs on right side and 4 bullet entry wounds, Juma Khan s/o Amirullah Khan had 95 percent burns, 3 bullet wounds, Mohammad Yousuf Malik’s body was without head, neck and upper one third of left side of thorax, left arm was lying separately. The findings of the post mortem reports of the deceased indicate that the killed persons sustained about 98 per cent burn injuries in addition to the bullet injuries indicating use of excessive and unwarranted force. It is impossible for the killed persons to have suffered such extensive burn injuries in a genuine encounter. The encounter was stage managed with a view to obliterate the identity of the killed persons…