The Army on Friday said that their inquiry into the Shopian encounter has been concluded and it has been revealed that powers vested in soldiers under Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990 ‘were exceeded.’ It said directions have been passed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable.
“The inquiry ordered by the Army authorities into Op Amshipora has been concluded,” Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Defence, Col Rajesh Kalia said here. “The inquiry has brought out certain 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 Supreme Court have been contravened,” the statement said.
On July 18, Army said it had killed three unidentified militants in a gunfight in Shopian district of south Kashmir.
The inquiry was initiated on 11 August after families of three youths of Rajouri – 26 year old Abrar Ahmed of Tarkassi, 21 year old Mohammad Imtiyaz of Dharsakri and 18 year old Mohammad Ibrar of Dharsakri – said that this was a fake encounter and the victims were laborers and not militants. This was after the pictures of the bodies of the ‘unidentified militants’ came to light.
Kin of the deceased said that the boys left home on July 16 in search of work. They reached Shopian district where they rented a room, and informed their families about the same on phone. The families lost touch with their sons on phone since July 17.
Since 10 August evening, there were posts on social media that three residents of Rajouri have been killed in a fake encounter on 18 July by 62-Rashtriya Rifles of the Army.
As per the families when they couldn’t contact their sons after 17th July they lodged a missing report with police on 10/8/2020.
The Army today said orders have been passed by competent authority to initiate disciplinary action against those involved. “Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable,” the statement said.
The evidence, the statement said, collected by the inquiry has prima-facie indicated that the three unidentified militants killed in operation Amshipora Shopian were Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Muhammad Ibrar, who hailed from Rajouri.
The spokesman said that their DNA report was awaited and other investigations are underway with police. “Their DNA report is awaited. Their involvement with militancy or related activities is under investigation by the police,” he said. “Indian Army is committed to ethical conduct of operations. Further updates on the case will be given periodically without affecting due process of the law of the land.”
On 12 August, police had said that it will examine the allegations and carry out DNA tests of the bodies of the victims to ascertain their identity.
“Besides identification, police will also investigate all other aspects as per the law in due course of time,” police had said in a handout.
On Thursday, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh told reporters that DNA results were ‘a matter of a few days.’
Last week Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha said at a press conference that the victims will get justice.