SRINAGAR: An army court has recommended a life sentence for Captain Bhupendra Singh for his involvement in the killing of three civilians in a staged encounter in Amshipura, Shopian, in July 2020. The court-martial proceedings, which found that Captain Singh exceeded his powers under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), were completed in less than a year.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police charged three people, including Captain Singh, for “staging a fake encounter”. Reports suggest that higher army authorities will need to confirm the sentence.
The three youths, who came from the Rajouri district of Jammu, were killed in a remote hilly village in Shopian district on July 18, 2020, and were falsely labelled as “militants”. Social media raised concerns about the killings, leading to the army forming a Court of Inquiry that found evidence that the troops had exceeded their powers under AFSPA.
The JKP’s SIT charge sheet alleges that Captain Singh provided false information to his superiors and the police about the staged encounter. The three accused allegedly destroyed evidence and spread false information as part of a criminal conspiracy aimed at receiving cash rewards, the SIT that was investigating the case in a parallel investigation had stated. However, the army denied that Captain Singh staged the encounter for a cash reward, claiming no such system exists for any acts in combat situations or otherwise in the line of duty.
Court martial proceedings in #Amshipora #Shopian case end with order of life imprisonment for Captain Bhupendra Singh for misusing #AFSPA & killing 3 innocent youths in a cold-blooded murder as “terrorists” in a fake encounter. Appreciate this punishment but support the families. https://t.co/mdPaoJF4AM
— Ahmed Ali Fayyaz (@ahmedalifayyaz) March 5, 2023
During the court martial proceedings, Mohammed Yusuf, Abrar Ahmed’s father, was called upon to provide a missing report about his son. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha visited the families in Rajouri and conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message that the government would support them. Through a DNA test, the three youths’ identities were confirmed, and their bodies were returned to their families and buried in their native village in Rajouri.