ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Army’s Pathribal Closure

Victory of Institutional Injustice

The army's closure of the Pathribal fake encounter case exemplifies the institutionalisation of injustice in Kashmir. This article retraces the events to remind us of the exceptional miscarriage of justice and how compromised each and every institution of the Indian state has become in denying basic rights to its citizens in Kashmir. Yet, Pathribal also provides an opportunity for the State to make amends and start walking that long road to justice.

Fourteen years ago, five innocent civilians were picked up and killed by soldiers of the Indian Army in a staged encounter in south Kashmir’s Pathribal area. Over these years several probes have indicted the army men with clinching evidence, yet the army court gave a clean chit to all its indicted men including senior officers and announced a closure, simply stating that evidence ­collected by it did not establish a prima facie case against any of the accused. No explanations were offered about how such a conclusion was arrived at in the face of detailed evidence available. After 14 years the Indian Army’s actions highlight one simple reality – in the case of Kashmir, India’s legal justice system ­allows itself to be dissolved in the opaque waters of a misplaced “national interest”. The Pathribal case is a blot on Indian ­democracy; it is a symbol of the crude nature of human rights abuse in Kashmir and the culture of impunity exercised through legal instruments. A quick recap into the case is instructive of the systemic regime that is followed.

A Series of Massacres

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