In Shopian Fake Encounter Probe, Army Says Evidence Recorded

SRINAGAR: Army on Thursday said that the process of recording the ‘summary of evidence’ has been completed in Amshipora Shopian fake encounter.

An army spokesman said that the same is being examined by the concerned authorities in consultation with legal advisors for proceeding further.

“Indian Army is committed to the ethical conduct of operations. Further details will be shared in a manner so as not to prejudice the proceedings under Army Law,” said army spokesman in a statement.

It is pertinent to mention here that on July 18,  the army claimed to have killed three Pakistani militants in an overnight gunfight in the orchards of remote Amshipora village in Shopian. After locals failed to identify any of them, the three bodies were quickly driven to north Kashmir’s Baramulla where a number of unidentified militants killed in encounters lay buried.

Delivering Justice

The same day, in a quick press conference, 12 sector Commander Brigadier Ajay Kotach told reporters that “we were also getting inputs of presence of certain identified Pakistani terrorists in that area.” He then gave media graphic details of the gun-fight. Kotach also claimed that the army recovered arms and ammunition and IED material from the slain trio.

Interestingly, the same day Jammu and Kashmir Police issued a press statement saying: the operation was launched on a specific input by the 62 Rashtriya Rifles about the presence of militants in the village. The statement also noted that police and CRPF joined the operation later.

Later in early August, three families from Rajouri who saw the photographs of the slain trio on social media claimed they were their kins who had gone to Shopian to earn their livelihoods. They said they were killed in a fake encounter in Amshipora. The authorities then ordered for enquiry and it was subsequently found that it was a fake encounter.

Why Shopian Admissions By Army Have Revived Pathribal, Machil Debate?

During the investigations, it was stated by the army that the Shopian operation contravened the dos and don’ts of the Chief of Army Staff approved by the Supreme Court.

“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 as approved by the Supreme Court have been contravened. “Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable,” the statement had said.

Soon after the army’s statement, the families of slain youth had demanded immediate exhumation of the bodies of their loved ones for proper burial at Rajouri.

Grave No 65, 66, 67 Opened in Gantmulla Graveyard, Bodies Shifted To Rajouri

On October 3, the trio was exhumed by the family members in presence of the senior officials from police and civil departments. They were later laid to rest at their ancestral graveyard in Rajouri.

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