Shopian 'Encounter': Kashmir Police Arrest Two Men; Victims' Bodies to Be Exhumed

The two men, believed to be army informants, allegedly played a role in the pre-execution stage of the encounter.

Srinagar: In a new twist to the killing of three persons, including a minor, by the Indian Army in southern Kashmir’s Shopian district on July 18 this year, the Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested two persons for their role in pre-execution phase of the “encounter”.

Highly placed sources told The Wire that two persons have been arrested by the police for allegedly being part of a conspiracy that led to the killing of three labourers from Rajouri by the army at Amshipora in Shopian on July 18.

“They were produced before a local court which sent them to seven days remand,” sources said.

According to sources, one of the accused is from Pulwama district. The other accused person arrested lives in the vicinity of 62 RR camp and the accommodation rented by the labourers before they were killed in Amshipora. They are both believed to be army informants.

J&K’s DGP Dilbagh Singh had told mediapersons on Monday that the investigation into the killings is in its final stage.

“Army and police both are investigating the case. The army’s probe will be completed in a few days while police inquiry is also on. We cannot share any details beyond that,” the DGP had said.

He had said that the SSP Shopian is monitoring the investigation into the case and further details will be shared soon.

The Army has already admitted on September 18 that that “during the operation, powers vested under the AFSPA 1990 were exceeded”.

It also said in a statement 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.

“Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed that disciplinary proceedings be initiated under the Army Act against those found prima facie answerable,” it said.

Also read: 16-Year-Old Killed in Shopian ‘Encounter’ Wanted to Earn Money to Pay for Studies, Says Family

On July 18, the army claimed to have killed “unidentified militants” who were later buried in a graveyard in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Nearly 22 days later, on August 10, three families from Rajouri claimed that those killed by Army were their children who had gone to Shopian to work as labourers.

After these claims, both the army and Jammu and Kashmir Police ordered separate inquiries into the matter.

A team from the Shopian police went to Rajouri and collected DNA samples of family members on August 13 to match them with samples of those killed in the alleged Amshipora encounter.

Last week, police confirmed that the DNA samples of those killed by the army have matched with the samples taken from families in Rajouri.

This confirmed that those killed were Ibrar Ahmad (25), Imtiyaz Ahmad (22) and Abrar Ahmad (16).

Their families have also written to J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, seeking his intervention to help them receive the bodies of their children.

“We also want the dead bodies of our children so that we can give them a decent burial. We are very much hopeful that your good self will personally intervene in this matter,” the families wrote to the LG.

Bodies to be exhumed: Police

Meanwhile, the administration in J&K has decided to exhume the bodies of the three youth and hand them over to their families for burial.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir range Vijay Kumar was quoted by local news agencies as saying that the bodies will be exhumed and handed over to the families after the due process of law.

After being dubbed as unidentified militants by the Army, all the three were buried in a graveyard at Gantamulla, Baramulla on July 18.

Note: This article was first published on September 29, 2020 and updated and republished on September 30, 2020 with the detail that victims’ bodies will be exhumed.