Shopian: Two civilians arrested in connection with July killings
Three Rajouri families had identified the slain men from their pictures on social media and alleged the army had killed them in a “fake encounter”Updated: Sep 30, 2020, 12:22 IST
Two civilians have been arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in connection with the killing of three persons by security forces in an alleged “fake encounter” in Shopian on July 18.
While the army initially said the three were “terrorists”, they later admitted that its men exceeded the powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1990 and contravened the dos and don’ts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Supreme Court. Three Rajouri families had identified the slain men from their pictures on social media and alleged the army had killed them in a “fake encounter” in Shopian where they had gone to work as labourers.
Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh on Tuesday said that they have arrested two persons in connection with the killings.
“Two persons we initially suspected and had put (their arrest) on hold. Now since the army’s court of enquiry and then DNA tests (of the victims matching with their families) have come, we have arrested two persons among the people on whom we had suspicion and their questioning is going on,” he said.
The two persons are residents of south Kashmir and have been remanded in custody for eight days by a local court. The police were tight-lipped about their role in the case but sources said that they are believed to be informers of security forces.
Their arrests come after the DNA samples of the three men—Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohd Ibrar— gunned down on July 18 matched with their family members in Rajouri on September 25, the police said.
When questioned further about the case, the DGP said, “When the case moves forward only then we can share further details.”
The investigation is being conducted by SSP Shopian Amritpal Singh and is in tits final stages, the DGP said on Monday, adding, “The army and police are both investigating the case.”
On September 18, the army had said that the inquiry ordered by their authorities into the operation in Amshipora, Shopian, on July 18 had concluded and they had identified the trio killed as residents of Rajouri, adding their “involvement with terrorism was under investigation” by the police.
“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 were contravened. Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed the initiation of disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima facie answerable,” army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia had said.
Earlier, the families of the three had written to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, seeking his intervention after the DNA reports were delayed.
“Our children left for Shopian on July 16, in search of work After a couple of days, we lost contact with them. So, we decided to lodge a missing complaint,” the letter from the families read, adding that on August 10, they came to know, via social media, that all three had been killed.
“Our children had no connection with militancy…They were killed in cold blood, and were merely students and labourers,” the letter read.