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Indian army Captain involved in 2020 Shopian fake encounter joins the long march of impunity in IIOJK

New Delhi: The recent November 9 order of a two-member tribunal, suspending the life sentence of Captain Bhoopendra Singh of the Rashtriya Rifles, who was convicted of killing three Kashmiri labourers in the Shopian fake encounter case in 2020, will only serve to reinforce that Indian armed forces deployed in IIOJK enjoy impunity, reported India-based online news portal The Leaflet.

According to Kashmir Media Service, The Leaflet citing a 2012 report by the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) said that it (the JKCCS report) made a damning revelation about the impunity enjoyed by Indian armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir. The JKCCS documents human rights abuses by Indian troops in IIOJK.

As per The Leaflet, the JKCCS report said, “The fact that not a single request for sanction for prosecution under Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 (AFSPA) has been granted in 22 years strongly suggests an institutional intent to allow for the commission of crimes and protection of perpetrators”.

The Leaflet stated that the order of the two-member tribunal headed by Justice Rajendra Menon, suspending the life sentence of Captain Bhoopendra Singh, will only serve to reinforce this indictment of impunity.

Captain Singh had been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by an army’s summary general court martial last year.

In his appeal before the tribunal, Captain Singh’s counsel Major (Retd) Sudhanshu S. Pandey argued: “Such conviction of a young officer in this manner would have a very demoralising effect on other officers who are sacrificing their lives for the nation.”

The tribunal found that the order of the general court martial was “perverse” and “improper”. While granting bail to Singh, the tribunal also said that the evidence led by the prosecution is “not convincing enough to hold the applicant guilty of the charges levelled against him”.

The Indian news portal lamented that the JKCCS is currently under investigation for alleged pro-freedom activities in IIOJK, Captain Singh will walk as a free man.

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