A day after the army ordered court martial proceedings against six soldiers including two officers involved in the Machil fake encounter case,families of three youth killed in the encounter welcomed it though fear still stalks them. The families claim they have to live under fear of death threats from civilians engaged by the army as informers,who are in police custody.
Mohammad Yusuf Lone,father of Riyaz Ahmad,one of the slain youth,said a few days ago he received a threat call from an unknown caller on his mobile phone. After that call,my family members are scared to venture out during late hours. I fear for lives of my other children and have already reported it to the police.
Lone,who deposed before the Armys Court of Inquiry in Kupwara in April,said he was ready to depose during court martial proceedings,My only aim of life is to get justice for our innocent children.
Lone said they will appear before court martial proceedings in police protection. After the killings of our children in fake encounter we fear to go to any army camp. Last time when army summoned us to Kupwara camp,we first took police protection and appeared before the armys court of inquiry, he said.
He said on Wednesday evening,they came to know about court martial proceedings against the armymen involved in the case,from villagers. My son,working at a local mechanic shop used to run our family. After his killing,everything changed for us, he said.
For us,justice will be done the day soldiers and civilians involved in killings get severe punishment. We want death for them, he said.
Lones wife Naseema said families of the slain youth are still receiving death threats. Relatives of Bashir who took our children to army and is still in jail and are giving us threats even during court proceedings. He (Bashir) warned us of dire consequences once he gets released from jail. We have been constantly living under the shadow of threats.
Half a kilometre from Lones ancestral house,the family members of another slain youth,Mohammad Shafi,said, We have been waiting for justice,but still it has taken three years to announce court martial proceedings. We have full faith that all the guilty will be punished, said Ghulam Nabi Lone,uncle of Shafi.
Like our innocent children,the army men involved in killings would have killed many innocent people and dubbed them militants to earn medals and promotions,so this is a test case for armys system of justice,he said.
The family of the third youth is also waiting for justice. With Shezad,I lost everything. After his death,I have to look after my seven-year-old son Shahid. Despite poverty,we spent money to pay for expenses of lawyers fighting our cases,only to seek justice, said Jabeena Akthar,wife of Shezad.