Machil Victims and the Quest for Justice

Machil Victims and the Quest for Justice

In lieu of the release (in bail) of convicted army personnel over the Machil fake encounter, the administration’s Advocate General has sought a copy of the judgment order issued by the military tribunal. The Advocated General has also stated that “if the army judgment went against the justice system, we will definitely challenge it”. As is well known, three young Kashmiri men were lured over the promise of jobs by counterinsurgents; they were passed off as militants and then shot dead for a cash reward. Soon after this scandalous crime came into the public domain, Kashmir erupted into wide, deep and broad based protests. The release of the convicted felons –even on bail- does not merely constitute a travesty but also is an absurdity. However, the administration’s approach and general attitude towards taking up the case appears to be tepid. What does seeking a copy in the context of the enormity of the crime mean? And what does, what is in the nature of a non sequitur, “if the army judgment went against the justice system’ mean? The crime committed by the perpetrators is clear cut instance of a breach of natural justice, among other things. In this sense, the case is an open and shut one. But , it would appear that powers that be here do not want to ruffle the feathers of more powerful players. Hence the tepid approach. But the issue is beyond power politics and power plays. It is about justice , its breach and denial thereof which has a bearing on the conflict in Kashmir. If the perpetrators are, at some point , let free, it would set a precedent for a broader culture of impunity in Kashmir. The case then becomes poignant and important and cannot be dealt with in a cavalier manner. It behooves powers that be in the administration to take a serious view and note of release on bail of the felons and vigorously pursue the case. In the final analysis though and from the broad sweep of history, these kinds of incidents flow from the condition of conflict in and over Kashmir. Prudence and sagacity suggest that prevention is better than cure. In the context of Kashmir, it means resolving the conflict in all its dimensions, forms and avatars for good. This is not to underplay the need and demand for justice for the victims and their kith and kin of the Machil fake encounter. Justice for these is an essential prerequisite!

 

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