The Army on Tuesday said that a high-level Court of Inquiry was in progress into the alleged fake encounter on 18th July in Amshipora area of south Kashmir’s Shopian in which three labourers from Rajouri were allegedly killed.
The Army said in a statement that the testimonies of key witnesses were being recorded and the investigation was being closely monitored.
“Additional civil witnesses are being asked to depose before the Court of Inquiry,” the statement said. “Concurrently, DNA samples have been collected from Rajouri under the aegis of JKP [Jammu and Kashmir Police] and sent for matching with the militants killed on 18 July 2020.”
The Army also said it was committed to the ethical conduct of all counter-militancy operations. “Cases where doubts are raised are investigated under due process as per the law of the land,” it said, adding that the details of the enquiry will be shared periodically “as appropriate without affecting due legal process”.
On August 9, the families of the three Rajouri residents had gone to a local police post with a missing report that they last spoke to their kin on July 17, a day ahead of the alleged fake encounter. The missing persons complaint was lodged on August 10.
On the basis of photographs that the family of the trio came across on social media – identified as Ibrar Ahmad (20), Imtiyaz Ahmad (25) and Ibrar Ahmad (17) of Rajouri – they have alleged that the three unidentified “militants” the army said it killed in a gunfight at Shopian on July 18 were, in fact, their innocent relatives.
The trio had come to Shopian from Rajouri to find work.
Some reports have said that on July 16, Imtiyaz Ahmad, a labourer from Rajouri had rented a small room for Rs 1,600 per month near the army’s Rashtriya Rifles (RR) camp at Chowgam, near Shopian town.
Last Thursday, a Jammu and Kashmir Police team from Shopian reached Rajouri and collected DNA samples of three families to match them with those of three young men allegedly killed in the fake encounter and buried in Baramulla in north Kashmir.
The relatives of three young men have said that they were common people who wanted to support their families and they never indulged in any anti-national activities.
On 18 July police in statement said that after specific input by 62RR about presence of militants in village Amshipora area of District Shopian, an operation was launched by them in the said area.
“During encounter three unidentified militants were killed,” the police statement had said.