Rajouri encounter: Bodies of 3 men exhumed, handed over to families for burial
The bodies of three men, who were described as terrorists after their killing in an alleged staged encounter in July, were exhumed on Saturday from a graveyard in the Kashmir Valley’s Baramulla and handed over to their families for burial in their native Rajouri in Jammu region, inspector general Vijay Kumar said.
Cousins Imtiyaz Ahmad, 21, Abrar Ahmad, 26, and Mohammad Ibrar, 18, were killed days after they arrived in the Valley’s Shopian area hoping to find work.
The Army initially said the three were “terrorists”. It later said an inquiry has prima facie brought out evidence indicating “during the operation [in which the three were killed], powers vested under the AFSPA [Armed Forces Special Powers Act] 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”. The army added consequently, the “competent disciplinary authority has directed initiation of disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable”.
The Jammu & Kashmir police last week said the DNA samples of the three have matched with their family members in Rajouri.
Baramulla’s senior police superintendent, Abdul Qayoom, said the bodies were handed over to the families after the completion of legal formalities.
The three were declared as unidentified “terrorists” and buried in Baramulla, 102 kilometers from where they were killed.
“Spare a thought for the parents of three young men whose bodies have been exhumed today. Three able bodied athletic men trek 80 kms in search of livelihood. And a few months later the parents take their violently ravaged bodies back. Imagine the plight of the parents,” tweeted former state minister Sajjad Lone.
The police on Tuesday said that two civilians believed to be informers of security forces have been arrested in connection with the killings.
Imtiyaz Ahmad’s mother, Shamim Akhter, this week told HT her son, who had passed class 12th this year, wanted to pursue his studies and had gone to Shopian to work as a labourer and earn enough money for admission to the Rajouri Degree College. “Those who killed my son and nephews [Abrar Ahmed and Mohammad Ibrar] should also meet the same fate. The barbarians did not allow them to have food and picked them up from their rented room...before killing them...” Akhter said the whole truth about their killing should be made public and the perpetrators should be hanged. She added they are yet to get any compensation.