PDP demands re-opening of Pathribal killing case

Jammu, Jan 30 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Thursday demanded re-opening of the alleged Pathribal staged shooting case so that the victims could be given justice.

A delegation of the PDP led by party legislator from Shangus, (the assembly constituency where Pathribal forests are located in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district), Peerzada Mansoor Hussain along with locals called on Governor N.N. Vohra here and demanded justice for the victims of Pathribal case, a party statement said.
“The delegation demanded re-opening of the case and fresh investigation in a time-bound manner,” it said.
“Expressing his anger over the army closing the case, Peerzada Mansoor pointed out that this case has provided a window of opportunity to the state government as well as centre to provide justice to the people of Kashmir,” it said.
“He said the faith of the common masses has been badly shattered due to the closing of this case so it was need of the hour to re-investigate the case in a time-bound manner to revive faith of the people.”
Contending it was all due to the denial of justice and lack of transparency and accountability in the system that alienation among Kashmiris has been increasing, Mansoor insisted that all institutions, including the army and other security forces, should be made accountable. He urged the governor to take up this issue with the defence ministry, the statement said.
Noting that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is visiting Jammu in the first week of February, he urged Vohra to convey the people’s feeling to him.
“Sharing their concern, the governor assured the delegation that he would convey their feeling and his own observations to the prime minister on this case. He also assured the delegation that he would take up this matter with the defence ministry,” the statement added.
Five people, termed foreign terrorists, were killed in the Pathribal forests by the security forces on March 25, 2000.
There was a public outcry after the incident with locals alleging the slain persons were all local, unarmed civilians nabbed by the security forces.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe indicted five army personnel in the case and presented the charge sheet against them in the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Srinagar.
The army challenged the CBI jurisdiction in the Supreme Court, saying the CBI should have sought prior permission from the central government as its personnel were protected under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
The army was asked by the apex court to carry out its own probe which recently said no prima facie case is made out against any of the accused personnel.