DNA Tests Confirm 3 Killed by Army in Shopian 'Encounter' Were From Rajouri

The families of the two men and one minor will make a fresh appeal for the bodies of the three to be handed over to them.

Srinagar: Tests conducted by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory at Chandigarh have confirmed that the two young men and one minor killed by the Army on July 18 in southern Kashmir’s Shopian district, were youth from Rajouri, as their families have claimed for more than two months now.

On September 18, the Army had admitted that the three “militants” it had claimed to have killed in an encounter were indeed from Rajouri. In a striking departure from norm, it had also admitted that “during the operation, powers vested under the AFSPA 1990 were exceeded.”

 The findings of DNA tests have established that those killed by the Army’s 62 Rashtritya Rifles were Ibrar Ahmad (25), Imtiyaz Ahmad (22) and Muhammad Abrar (16), all residents of Rajouri.

“The DNA samples have matched,” Inspector General of Police Kashmir range Vijay Kumar told reporters at a news conference here.

 He said police will now expedite investigation in the case.

The police had collected DNA samples of family members of the two men and the minor on August 13 after the families raised the pitch of their claim that those killed in Amshipora Shopian were labourers who had gone to work their from Rajouri and not unidentified militants, as claimed by the Army.

Also read: Shopian ‘Encounter’: Army Says it Exceeded AFSPA Powers, Confirms 3 Killed Were From Rajouri

On July 18 morning, the Army claimed to have killed three unidentified militants in an orchard at Amshipora, Shopian.

On August 9, the families of the three youth lodged a missing report at the police post in Peeri in Rajouri district, complaining that they had not been able to contact their children, who had gone to Shopian.

Eventually, both the Army and J&K Police ordered separate probes in the matter.

The Army had said that “the Dos and Don’ts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court have been contravened” in the course of the operation.

“The inquiry has prima facie indicated that the three unidentified terrorists killed in Op Amshipora were Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohd Ibrar, who hailed from Rajouri,” the Army statement of September 18 read.

Meanwhile, the families of the youth told The Wire that they will write to the Lieutenant Governor, J&K Police and Baramulla district administration on Monday for exhumation of the bodies.

“We have decided to formally approach authorities as there has been inordinate delay in handing over the bodies to us,” said Guftar Choudhary, a social activist, who is helping families.

The bodies have been buried at Gantamulla in Baramulla.

‘Who planted weapons?’

 After police confirmed that DNA tests have established the identity of those killed by Army, social media was flooded with questions on who planted the weapons and incriminating material which the Army claims to have recovered from them.

An official statement issued after the July 18 “gunfight” said that arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of the “encounter”.

The National Conference leader also said that it is imperative that bodies of the three be exhumed and handed over to the families immediately so that a proper burial can take place near their homes in Rajouri district.

Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone said justice in the case will be ornamental unless it is divine.