A police investigation in the killing of six people including two militants on Sunday evening in the Shopian area of Kashmir has found that there was no militant by the name of Shahid Ahmad Dar who the Indian Army claimed to have killed during the encounter, reports claimed.
A report published in media outlet FIRSTPOST said that only two militants were killed by the Indian Army at Pahnoo in Shopian. The two militants have been identified as Amir Ahmad Malik and Ashiq Hussain Bhat. A member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Malik was active since July 2017, whereas Ashiq was missing since 13 November 2017.
The army had said in a statement that it killed Shahid and three other over ground workers (OGWs) on Sunday evening after its personnel deployed at a mobile vehicle check post (MVCP) were fired upon, reported FIRSTPOST.
“A mobile vehicle check post near Pohan (Shopian) was fired upon by the militants from a vehicle. In retaliatory firing, one militant identified as Shahid Ahmad Dar son of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar a resident of Jamnagri in Shopian was killed and a weapon was found with him. The three over ground workers (accomplices in the car) who were accompanying the militants were also found dead,” the Indian Army had said in a statement.
However, Ifroz Ahmad, Additional Superintendent of Police, Shopian, said that there was “no militant by name of Shahid.
Muzamil Showkat, investigating officer in the Shopian encounter said, “While there was no militant by the name of Shahid, a youth of the same name is missing from the area. We are investigating the case,” FIRSTPOST quoted him saying.
Following the contradictions about the killings, the army has now stated in a complaint to the police that three other people who were killed “could probably be the OGWs”.
In the encounter that took place on Sunday, apart from the two militants, four civilians including a youth named Gowhar Ahmad Lone of Chitragam was killed.
Gowhar’s uncle, Nissar Ahmad Bhat, said that his body was recovered a day after he had left home to buy pesticide stock for his shop in the village. He said that the body was recovered from a Wagon-R vehicle that was found nearly half-a-kilometre away from where the army had set up the MVCP, said a report.
“There were injuries on his arm and head too, which appeared to have been received due to beatings,” he said.
However, according to the complaint that the army registered with the police, based on which an attempt to murder case has been registered under Section 307 of the Renbir Penal Code (RPC), the army has said that its personnel were fired from two cars — a Swift and a Santro — at the MVCP.
“On 4 March the army was in the processes of establishing an MVCP near Pahnoo school in the evening when a red Santro and silver Swift approached the MVCP and tried to jump it. The troops at the MVCP challenged the occupants of the cars, but they did not stop and opened fire from the inside of the vehicles with the intent to kill the troops at the MVCP. In the exchange of fire that took place between the Indian Army troops and the occupants of the cars, one militant was killed and probably three over ground workers (OGWs) were killed and one weapon was recovered,” read the complaint by the army to the police.
On the basis of the claims of recovering one AK 47 rifle, three magazines and 88 rounds by the Indian Army, the police also registered a case under Section 27 of Indian Arms Act, 1969, and Section 7 of the Arms Act, 1959, the report said.
Though the army had earlier said that it was fired upon from two vehicles of which one sped off, it had also said in the statement that the body of the militant Ashiq was recovered from an orchard in the nearby village of Sadipura, whereas Gowhar was found at Pinzore on 5 March near the second vehicle from which the militants had fired.
“On 4 March at 7 pm, an army MVCP was deployed along the Trenz-Pinzore road near village Pahnoo. At around 8 pm, two speeding vehicles were seen approaching the MVCP location from the direction of village Trenz. The troops deployed (at the MVCP) signalled the vehicles to stop, however, both the vehicles continued to move. At this point, when a searchlight was flashed towards the approaching vehicles, a heavy firing came from both the vehicles. The army troops, in self-defence, responded the same with fire,” the army had said in a statement.
“In the ensuing gunfight, one militant who fired from one of the vehicles was hit and he fell off the vehicle and the vehicle veered off the road towards the Nala while the second vehicle sped off. Later during the search, the body of the militant was recovered. He was identified as Amir Ahmad Malik resident of village Harmen.
“Three more dead bodies were found in the vehicle during the search. These individuals were accompanying the militant. At around 9 am, on 5 March, the body of another militant Ashiq Hussain Bhat part of banned militant organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba was found from the apple orchards of village Saidpura, who is also linked with the same chain of events at village Pahnoo, mentioned the report.
“The second vehicle from which the army was fired upon was found in the morning of 5 March where one more individual was found dead. He has been identified as Gowhar Ahmad Lone of Molu-Chitragam village of Shopian,” reported FIRSTPOST.