AFSPA exceeded in three J-K killings: Army
The army on Friday said that powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) were violated in the July killing of three people, believed to be terrorists, in Shopian in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, and that the three were actually locals from Rajouri in the same UT, although their involvement in terror activities is still being investigated.
The families of the three had blamed army for killing them in a fake encounter.
Army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said in a statement that the inquiry ordered by army authorities into the operation at Amshipora in Shopian on July 18 has concluded.
“The inquiry has brought out certain prima facie evidence indicating that during the operation, powers vested under the AFSPA 1990 were exceeded and the Do’s and Don’ts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court have been contravened. Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed initiation of disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable,” the spokesman added.
He said the evidence collected showed that the three unidentified men killed in Amshipora are actually Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohd Ibrar, from Rajouri.
“Their DNA report is awaited. Their involvement with terrorism or related activities is under investigation by the police. Army is committed to ethical conduct of operations,” the spokesman said.
Last week, the families of the three wrote to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, seeking his intervention after the DNA reports were delayed.
The three men, related to each other, were gunned down in an encounter on July 18. DNA samples from their families were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) Srinagar, and the FSL at Chandigarh. People familiar with the matter said the government has received the FSL report from the Srinagar lab, but its content had not been made public.
“Our children left for Shopian on July 16, in search of work where one of our relatives, Imtiyaz Ahmed, works in the house of the ‘Lambardar’. After a couple of days, we lost contact with the children. So, we decided to lodge a missing complaint,” the letter from the families said, adding that on August 10, they came to know, via social media, that all three men were killed in an encounter.
“We identified them from pictures of the bodies. On August 13, a Shopian police team collected DNA samples from us. We were assured that the DNA report would be out within 10 days. To date, we have not been informed about the reports,” the plea to Sinha said.
“Our children had no connection with militancy. For this, we are demanding an inquiry. They were killed in cold blood, and were merely students and labourers. We are demanding an impartial and fair inquiry into the killings as well as the DNA reports, so that things can be made public,” read the letter. The families added in the letter that several of its members are still serving in the army.