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July 18 Shopian: Army says its men exceeded AFSPA powers

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A probe by the Army in July 18 Shopian “encounter” has revealed that those killed were from Rajouri and its troops involved in the operation exceeded powers vested with them under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA-1990).

The Army on Friday evening said the inquiry “brought out certain prima facie evidence indicating that during the operation powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1990 were exceeded and the Do’s and Don’ts of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court have been contravened.”

It also said that the disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable.The Army also confirmed that those killed in the operation were from Rajouri.

“The evidence collected by the inquiry has prima-facie indicated that the three unidentified terrorists killed in Op Amshipora were Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohd Ibrar, who hailed from Rajouri,” the Army said.

The Army, however, said their “involvement with terrorism or related activities is under investigation by the police”.

“Indian Army is committed to ethical conduct of operations. Further updates on the case will be given periodically without affecting due process of the law of the land,” it said.

On July 18, the Army claimed that it had killed three unidentified militants in Amshipora Shopian.

In a statement issued that evening, Jammu & Kashmir Police, in an apparent move to distance itself from Army’s claims, said that the encounter was executed on inputs of 62 Rashtriya Rifles and they joined the operation later.

On August 10, three families from Rajouri claimed that those killed in the gunfight were their innocent children who had gone to Rajouri to earn their livelihood. Following the claims, both police and Army ordered separate enquiries into the matter.

Later, a police team from Shopian went to Rajouri and collected DNA samples of the families of the youth to match them with tissues of those killed on July 18.

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