Alleged fake encounter in Shopian: Army starts probe

Hours after reports on social media that three labourers from Rajouri have been killed in an alleged fake encounter in South Kashmir’s Shopian district last month, Army on Monday said that they were investigating the matter.

“We have noted social media inputs linked to the operation at Shopian on 18 July 2020,” Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Defence, Col. Rajesh Kalia said here.

“The three militants killed during the operation have not been identified and the bodies were buried based on established protocols,” Col Kalia said, adding, “Army is investigating the matter.”

Since Monday morning, there have been posts on social media that three residents of Rajouri – 26 year old Ibrar Ahmed son of Mohammad Yousuf resident of Tarkassi, 21 year old Mohammad Imtiyaz son of Sabar Hussain resident of Kathuni Mohalla of Dharsakri and 18 year old Mohammad Imran son of Bagha Khan resident of Kathuni Mohalla of Dhar Sakri – who had come to Shopian for labour work have been killed in an alleged fake encounter.

The social media reports said the families have identified their wards from photographs of the dead bodies.

On July 18, police had said that three militants were killed in an encounter in Amshipora area of District Shopian after inputs generated by Army.

“During searches, the militants fired upon Army personnel and an encounter started. Later on police and CRPF also joined. During encounter three unidentified militants were killed. Dead bodies of all the killed three militants were retrieved from the site of encounter,” police had said in a statement, adding that arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.

Police had buried the bodies in Baramulla district of north Kashmir.

In Rajouri, the families of the missing youths have filed missing reports in police post Peeri after which police have shared their particulars with Kashmir police.

As per the families of the youth- who are relatives of each other- Ibrar Ahmed, Mohammad Imtiyaz and Mohammad Imran went to Kashmir in connection with labour related works but are missing from 17th of July.

Lal Hussain, uncle of missing Mohammad Imtiyaz told the Greater Kashmir that his nephew left home on 2nd of July and reached Shopian where he worked on daily wages.

“We used to talk to him on regular basis and he was working as a daily wager on construction sites as well as orchards and used to stay at place of work as he was not having any accommodation there,” Lal Hussain said.

“On 17th July, two more boys from our area (Ibrar Ahmad and Mohammad Imran) reached there and joined Imtiyaz after which the trio took a room on rent,” Lal Hussain said.

He added, “Imtiyaz called me at around 07:30 PM on 17th July and informed that two more boys from the area have reached and joined him and they have taken a room and have purchased essentials for living including ration.”

“Since then, his phone is off,” he said.

Mohammad Yousuf, father of missing Ibrar Ahmad resident of Tarkassi, said that his son worked in Kuwait for around three and a half years and went to Kashmir valley for the first time to work as a labourer.

“He was in contact with Imtiyaz who went there in initial days of July and on his call, my son alongwith his brother-in-law 18 year-old Ibrar went to Shopian,” Yousuf said.

“My son called his wife on 17th July in evening hours and informed about his arrival and also informed that they three have hired a room and will search for labour work in days to come,” Yousuf added.

Arshad Ahmed, Panch from Kathuni mohallah ward of Dhar village said that formal missing complaint of the trio has been registered in local police post.

“Two of the missing boys are from my panch ward and their families approached me after which we went to Peeri police post where family of third missing person also reached and we have lodged complaint in police post,” Panch Arshad said.

“We appeal authorities to conduct fast track probe into the matter and to trace all three missing persons,” Ajaz Ahmed, Sarpanch from Dharsakri panchayat said.

Additional SP Rajouri, Liyaqat Ali said, “We received missing reports from their families and same has been registered and our counterparts in Kashmir have been informed about it alongwith details of the trio for further investigation.” (With PTI inputs)