An encounter was finished and the Canine Regiment had called for a press conference to detail about the event to the reporters. The reporters had rushed in from the city.
Major Gusta Bhargowda: It is a matter of deep honour for my team that today on the fourth of may 2015 at 12:00 hours we have killed three wanted over-ground workers of the HM in the forests of Tral. The three wanted militants…
Kashmir Reporter : Sir you just mentioned they were over-ground workers?
Major: Yes yes, over-ground workers are militants too. They supply them with wazwan to keep them healthy. Okay. So we killed these three men who in the forests. We asked them nicely to stop. But they refused. We felt bad by their dismissal you see I am a Major in the Army. Anyway, we followed them while they were calling Pakistan….
Kashmir Reporter: Sir, how can you listen to a conversation from a distance and how did you know that this call is to Pakistan?
Major: Yes yes, we have a new technology which is make in India. We again called them to stop. But since they didn’t listen one of our brave constables got pissed and fired at the apple tree above their heads. The apple fell from the tree and killed the three militants… yes reporter I know, over-ground workers.
Kashmir Reporter: Sir, how can apples kill people?
Major: You know nothing, Jan Shah, these apples are from Tral which is at a great height. They fell like bombs on their heads. Well, also it was accidental firing. We just wanted them to come with us so that we can treat them to Wazwan at our beautiful camp. Oye constable Vikram Chotala bring the Dastarkhwaan.
Kashmir Tar and Kashmir Rizi follow the constable and take the picture of the slain men. Constable grins as the Major tries to fit in the picture.
Kashmir Reporter: So were they carrying anything with them?
Major: Yes I forgot, they carried 10 Ak 47 rifles, 5 magazines, 20 hand grenades, 4 Insas, 5 rocket launchers, two packets of dry fruits, three Gucci t-shirts, three Armani jeans, five boxes of Ahad Wazwan, three transistors, one tiffin with cooked mutton, one plastic bottle, one more Dry fruit packet, one belt and five shoes at an encounter site.
Kashmir Reporter: (while Rizi and Tar starting eating dry fruits) So you mean to say none of them even fired a single bullet?
Major: Our constable who killed them accidentally was trained by Chris Kyle, you know American Sniper fame? Yes him.
Kashmir Reporter: The locals have said they were tortured to death?
Major looks at the constable and whispers in his ear “Which encounter brief did you give me?” Constable scared “Sir, this is the one to be done next week”. Major’s face gets angry, “You motherfucker, why did you not tell me before.” Constable bows his head down and takes his steps back. Major puts his sunglasses on so that his eyes are covered.
Major: Actually this has been an honest mistake on our part. We were unaware of the power of apples in the areas. We announce a cash award to the family and a job to the next of the kin. We have instated an inquiry and will bring justice to the family of the departed. We are deeply sorry.
Kashmir Reporter gets a note “IF YOU SPEAK MORE YOU WILL NEVER SPEAK AGAIN. DO NOT DARE TO TELL THE TRUTH”.
With guns around Kashmir Reporter he falls silent and not become yet another story for his own paper.
Rizi and Tar are taking pictures from their new DSLR cameras. “Sir you don’t need to tell us anything just email the brief and we will take care of it”. The Public Relations Officer is engaged in the deep conversation regarding the framing of the news to make the Army likable. “Add a filter here, you know, increase the brightness and reduce the contrast,we should appear acclimatised and send it on my Whatsapp, tell your editors we will publish bigger ads with more stories, do not worry.”
Kashmir Reporter isolated with no courtesy given leaves the place and heads to the houses of the slain men in the village.
As the Dastarkhwan which has food stains all over and blood stains at the edge is taken back inside the camp. Major has been hailed by the Indian Media as the ‘Hero’ with Sunny Deol montages from his movie Border. A medal and cash is on its way.
The fake encounter Dastarkhwaan will be brought back again next week. Stay tuned.