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Janglat Mandi encounter case: Reply concluded, matter reserved for judgment
SRINAGAR, Nov 7: The counsel for a Kupwara family that had challenged veracity of Janglat Mandi encounter of March 2001 today concluded reply to the pleas made by Union of India (UoI) and the state government. Now the matter has been posted for judgment.

“I concluded my reply to the stand taken by Union of India and the state government vis-à-vis Janglat Mandi encounter and the case is now posted for judgment,” said Zaffar Qureshi, High Court Bar Association (HCBA) president and the counsel for Kupwara family.

On November 3, the UoI had said the litigation against Army Chief General Bikram Singh was motivated and was filed to forestall his elevation. Replying to arguments advanced by the counsel for UoI, Qureshi had prayed that UoI should have pleaded the same before the court if the litigation was ‘motivated’.

The 11-year-old Janglat Mandi encounter case pertains to firefight that took place in Anantnag resulting into severe injuries to the present army chief General Bikram Singh. The gunfight had resulted into killing of a ‘foreign militant’. According to the petitioner the encounter had led to killing of a “civilian” Abdullah Bhat a resident of Machil Kupwara.

Meanwhile, replying to the arguments made by UoI counsel, Zaffar Qureshi said: “I submitted that if the litigation was motivated, it should have been pleaded before the court. Besides I disputed the affidavits submitted by the UoI on many grounds.”

Arguing that the Supreme Court has already given a clean chit to the General Bikram Singh by a dismissing petition against him, the UoI counsel has said Janglat Mandi encounter too was discussed by the selection committee that recommended General Singh’s name for elevation as country’s Army chief.

“How can be Janglat Mandi encounter fake when it has resulted into death of a colonel and soldier? Besides, General Singh also sustained serious injuries in this encounter,” the UoI counsel K S Johal has submitted before the High Court. He has added that the litigation claiming that the foreign militant killed in the counter was labourer from Kupwara is full of malafide. “Where was petitioner since last 10 years and why it has approached the court after so much delay,” the UoI counsel has reportedly submitted before the court, while praying for dismissal of the petition.

The state government has also taken a similar view before the court saying that the petition has been filed to play mischief as the petitioner has approached court after prolonged delay. “The case is not maintainable for many grounds so must be dismissed,” said Mohammad Ishaq Qadri, the advocate general before the court, while substantiating his argument.

“The 70-yr-old man killed in the fake gunfight was dubbed as foreign militant and identified by Army as Mohiuddin Rabbani alias Mateen Chacha. But the fact is that the deceased was not a foreign militant but a civilian identified as Abdullah Bhat son of Qadir Bhat of Machil, Kupwara,” the petitioners have alleged.

Police and defence ministry have already submitted their objections to the petition filed by Zaituna who has alleged that her son Abdullah Bhat was killed in a fake encounter at Anantnag town in March 2001 and later branded as a Pakistani militant 'Mateen Chacha'. The State government has already adopted the version of police in the High Court.

In its objections, the Ministry of Defence has strongly denied the allegation that Janglat Mandi encounter was fake. Lieutenant Colonel Sandeep Sharma in his objection on behalf of ministry of defense had denied allegations that Lieutenant General Bikram Singh had influenced the police investigations into the encounter by hatching a conspiracy with the then SSP Anantnag and the then SHO Anantnag police station.

Giving a detailed account of the incident before the court, the defense ministry in its objections had said that on March 1, 2001 Brig Bikram Singh, then commander 1 sector Rashtriya Rifles, was returning to Anantnag in a convoy after his visit of various units accompanied by late Colonel J P Janu (who died in the encounter) and Late Lieutenant B S Bajwa. The convoy according to army’s objections stopped near TB hospital in Anantnag town form where Late J P Janu was to return back to unit location.

“When Colonel J P Janu alighted from his vehicle to pay compliments to commander before returning, one unidentified militant, disguised as beggar approached the army vehicles and opened indiscriminate fire upon the army personnel form a very close range,” reads army’s objections, adding that in the ensuing fire fight, J P Janu, Rfn Ganesh Kumar sustained fatal injuries while Brig Bikram Singh and B S Bajwa sustained non fatal gun shot wounds on the vital parts o their bodies.

The army says further that the encounter resulted into killing of a militant, two civilians Mohammad Shafi Shah son of Ghulam Rasool a resident of Chinni Chowk Anantnag and Abdul Azad Sheikh son of Ghulam Mohammad a resident of Janglat Mandi and injury to another besides damage to some shops.

According to the army objections, the police registered FIR 72/2001 and conducted investigation. “Police investigation established the identity of the dead militant from the identity card documents recovered from his body as Ghulam Mohi-u-Din alias Abdul Mateen Chacha of Hizbul Mujahideen and a resident of Malakand Sirhind Pakistan.”

The army says that Lieutenant General Bikram Singh on March 1, 2001 was admitted at 92 Base hospital and was later on operated upon for the serious injuries sustained by him and got finally discharged on April 28, 2001.
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News Updated at : Wednesday, November 7, 2012
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