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Civilian witnesses will be allowed to depose: Army

July 26, 2012 17:28 IST

Civilian witnesses and members of other security forces, who are connected to the Pathribal and Machil alleged fake encounters, will be allowed to depose before the Army inquiry into these cases.

"We will go strictly as per the rules...there will be no short cuts, we will be transparent and will ensure that every person who was involved is asked to depose in the inquiry.

Therefore, witnesses will not only be from Army, but they will be civilians, they will be from other security forces... whosoever was involved," GOC-in-C Northern Command Lt Gen K T Parnaik told reporters in Drass.

"The Army has taken over both the Pathribal and Machil cases from the magistrate as per the directions of the Supreme Court and will proceed against the people under the  provisions of the Army Act and Army rules," he said.

Brigadier Ajay Saxena, Lt Col Brajendra Pratap Singh, Major Sourabh Sharma, Major Amit Saxena and Subedar Idrees Khan were chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2006 for killing five civilians at Pathribal in Kashmir valley and later dubbing them as foreign terrorists.

As per the CBI investigation, the five civilians were killed and branded as terrorists days after 35 Sikhs were massacred in the nearby Chattisingpora village.

Three civilians were killed in an alleged fake encounter at Machil in 2010 and later branded as foreign terrorists.

Lt Gen Parnaik said the Army has already began contacting witnesses. "The process of getting the witnesses collected has already commenced," he said.

On China, the Army commander said they are 'well aware' about the Chinese "notion of becoming a regional and a global power".

"As a part of their efforts to rise to that status they have taken a lot of steps. They have built infrastructure, they have made inroads into our neighbouring countries...we need to be looking at it from the point of view of ensuring that this kind of relationship does not result in any problem to us on our borders or to our security," he said.

"Otherwise, India is a large nation. We have capability, we have good leadership and I am sure that at the highest level in the political and diplomatic areas we are doing enough to ensure that we take care of the methods that are being applied from across," Lt Gen Parnaik said.

He said the solution to the border dispute with China will 'come only through talks'. "The solution will come only through talks, and the situation now is not at all worrisome," he said.

The Army commander said the issue of Assam, which has been hit by ethnic strife, needs to be found a 'lasting solution'.

"Unless they find lasting solutions, some of these issues have the habit of cropping up again and again. So I am sure that all the necessary actions are being taken to resolve those issues," he said.

Lt Gen Parnaik said that Jammu and Kashmir government and army were on the 'same page' on the issue of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

"Army, specially northern command, does not have any issue. As far as I am concerned we are on the same page as the state government. AFSPA is an issue over which the army  has always given professional advice," he said.

He said the 'need of hour today' in the state is to continue to "dominate the situation". He said this year so far 40-50 'small and big' infiltration attempts have taken place from across the Line of Control.

"In 2012 so far, I think they have made 40-50 small and big infiltration attempts. But, according to MAC figures there have been 14-15 infiltration attempts till June this year in which 35-38 infiltrators have succeeded to infiltrate," he said.

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