The Army’s Court of Inquiry held his death was a suicide. But his family has ever since maintained that he was murdered by senior officers because he was going to blow the lid off some fake encounters in Kashmir in which civilians were killed.
In April 2004, Bhushan Lal and three others from Jammu region went to work as porters for the Army in the Lolab Valley. But they never returned. They were allegedly killed in the fake encounter, which is said to be behind Captain Kohli’s death.
“We still haven’t told the children that their father will never come back. We have told them that he has gone for his job,” says Madan Lal, father of Bhushan Lal.
In 2005, an anonymous letter informed Bhushan Lal’s family that he and his three colleagues were killed by the Army in fake encounters.
The letter names a Colonel and a Major as being responsible for the encounter. When Bhushal Lal’s father tried to find out more in Kashmir, he came across Captain Sumit Kohli who told him “the person who wrote the letter to you will make sure you get justice.”
A few months later, Captain Kohli was found dead. The Army said it was suicide but his family said the Shaurya Charka winner was murdered.
“I am dead sure that my brother has been murdered by few people in the Army who wanted to cover-up the story of a fake encounter. There was a fake encounter in the Lolab valley,” says Captain Kohli’s sister Namrata Kohli.
“I feel this letter has been written by Sumit Kohli. After writing this letter he lost his life. Had he not written this letter and had we not come to know that there was a fake encounter, he would have perhaps been alive, says Madan Lal, father of Bhushan Lal.
The family believes there is certainly a connection between the death of Captain Kohli and their loved one missing in Kashmir. They feel Captain Kohli knew about the fake encounter. They now say they will fight till they get justice.