Abu Usmaan alias Abu Adnan alias Doctor, top commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba, shot dead after a 12-hour encounter. The Army had all the names right, except they shot the wrong man.
The Poonch incident is now unraveling. Two men – a special police officer (SPO) and a Territorial Army jawan – have been arrested and charged with murder. And the LeT ‘commander’ was a man picked up from Rajouri and then shot dead. The victim has been identified as Ashok Kumar of Reasi. A senior police officer told reporters in Poonch that SPO Noor Hussain and the jawan Abdul Majeed were arrested on Monday for the fake encounter. “The two conspired and stage-managed the encounter for personal benefits,” he said. He meant promotions and rewards.
The duo reportedly picked up an unidentified mentally challenged civilian from Rajouri on August 5 and took him to Dobawali Doka forests in Surankote where they allegedly shot him dead the next day.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah, already grappling with the Sopore custodial death, condemned the incident and ordered a probe into the incident.
The Army said it was the fault of the SPO and the jawan. “We were misled by these two men,” said GOC of the counter-insurgency Romeo Force, Major General J S Shergill.
The Army did a volte face on what it had said just a day earlier. On how the 12-hour encounter involving hundreds of troops began, how three terrorists were cornered, how Abu Usmaan was killed while two others managed to flee. The Army had not only claimed credit for eliminating the terrorists, it had also showed a pistol, a wireless set and a diary recovered from the encounter site.
The 16 Corps has no answers for the gaping holes in their story. Where could the two arrested men procure arms? Who were they firing at for more than 12 hours, and if the SPO and Territorial Army jawan had killed the top LeT commander all by themselves, why was the Army taking credit?
The Poonch story is similar to what had happened in Pathribal in 2005 and Maachil in 2010 in the Valley where unsuspecting youth were taken from their houses on the pretext of giving them jobs by the same mix of SPO men and TA personnel. Then at a remote spot, an “encounter” based on “pinpoint information” took place and “foreign terrorists” were killed. Weapons found and displayed. Pathribal and Maachil were exposed, triggered widespread protests and the Army promised a fair probe and zero tolerance for any such “wrongdoings”.
But not a single Armyman has been punished in the cases despite a CBI report in Pathribal and a police inquiry report into Maachil. Economic Times