August 13, 2020 11:23 pm

Police Begins Investigation Into Shopian ‘Fake Encounter’

Probe To Focus On DNA Sampling, Trio’s Militant Links: IGP Kumar

Srinagar: A police team from Kashmir has been sent to Rajouri district in Jammu region to collect DNA samples of the people claiming to be relatives of the three youths killed in an alleged fake encounter in Shopian district of the Union Territory last month, a senior police official said on Thursday.

“We have sent a team headed by Deputy SP Wajahat today (Thursday) to Rajouri to collect the DNA samples of those claiming to be relatives of the deceased,” Inspector General of Police Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

Kumar said the DNA samples will be sent to central laboratories for matching.

“There are two aspects of the investigations. One is matching the DNA and then we will be also investigating whether these youths, who had come to work in Kashmir, had any links with militants. We will be going through their call details and other technical aspects as well,” he added.

The Army has already initiated an inquiry into an “encounter” carried out by its troops in Amshipora village of Shopian district.

On July 18, the Army claimed three militants were killed in the higher reaches of Shopian in south Kashmir. However, no further details were shared.

On Monday, Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia issued a brief statement, saying the Army has noted social media inputs linked to the operations in Shopian on July 18, 2020.

“The three terrorists killed during the operation have not been identified and the bodies were buried based on established protocols. The Army is investigating the matter,” Kalia had said.

This has sparked a controversy with political parties demanding an impartial probe into the alleged encounter to ensure speedy justice.

The controversy erupted after some families filed a complaint at a police station in Rajouri stating that their three members are missing since July 17 from Amshipora area of Shopian where they were working as labourers in apple and walnut orchards.

The families, who filed the police complaint jointly, gave pictures of their kin — Mohammed Ibrar (21), Ibrar Ahmad (18) and Imtiaz Ahmad (26) — which were subsequently shared with the Kashmir Police for investigation.

The relatives of the youths lodged the missing report with the local police after they failed to contact the trio and news of an encounter came on July 18 from Shopian, a police official said.

DNA Samples Of Families Collected

Meanwhile a police team on Thursday collected DNA samples of the three families in Rajouri district, who have claimed that their kin have been killed in a “stage managed encounter” by state forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district last month.

“The DNA samples of all the three families were collected today at the district hospital after completion of legal formalities,” a family source told Kashmir Observer.

He said that the officials have told the families that the reports of the DNA tests are most likely to come next week.

“We will bring the bodies to Rajouri when the DNA tests match,” family sources said.

Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, Nazir Ahmed Sheikh was quoted by a local news agency KNO as saying that the district administration facilitated collections of DNA samples of family members of all three missing persons.

Meanwhile, several delegations of locals, elders, and civil society groups met the police team from Kashmir and Rajouri police officers and demanded an impartial, independent probe into the 18 July killings that took place in Ashmipora, Shopian.

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