DNA test confirms those killed in Shopian fake encounter were labourers

The DNA of Rajouri families has matched that of the three labourers killed in the Shopian fake encounter on July 18.

Last week the army had admitted that powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)?were violated by soldiers in the July killing of three people, who were passed off as militants.

The families of the three had blamed the army for killing them in a fake encounter.

“The DNA report has come, matching has taken place,” Inspector General of Police, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar told reporters here adding that it is ‘positive matching’ with the families from Rajouri. “We are taking up the further investigation.”

On July 18, army had said that it killed three militants in an encounter in Amshipora Shopian, and that arms and ammunition was seized from the militants.

Later, the army had said that the inquiry ordered by authorities into the ‘operation’ at Amshipora in Shopian on July 18 has concluded.

“The inquiry has brought out prima facie evidence indicating that during the operation, powers vested under the AFSPA 1990 were exceeded and the dos and don’ts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court have been contravened. Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed initiation of disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable,” the spokesman had said, adding that the evidence collected showed that the three unidentified men killed in Amshipora are actually Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohd Ibrar – all from Rajouri.

The inquiry was first initiated on 11 August after family members of the three slain youth alleged that this was a case of fake encounter and the boys had no links to any militant outfits. Kin of the deceased, residents of Peeri Tehsil in Rajouri, had said that the boys left home on July 16 in search of work. They reached Shopian district where they rented a room.

“Our children left for Shopian on July 16, in search of work where one of our relatives, Imtiyaz Ahmed, works in the house of the lambardar. After a couple of days, we lost contact with the children. So we decided to lodge a missing complaint,” the families said in a letter to LG, adding that on August 10, they came to know, via social media, that all three men were killed in an encounter.

“We identified them from pictures of the bodies. On August 13, a Shopian police team collected DNA samples from us.”

“Our children had no connection with militancy. For this, we are demanding an inquiry. They were killed in cold blood, and were merely students and labourers. We are demanding an impartial and fair inquiry into the killings, so that things can be made public,” read the letter. The families added in the letter that several of their members are still serving in the army.

Apart from the families, the investigation has come under severe criticism from various quarters especially the defenders of the human rights for its snail’s pace who have alleged that the investigation process is slow because authorities are allegedly trying to botch it up to save those who are involved in the killing of the youths.