GR News Desk | Srinagar
The three persons missing from Rajouri had rented an accommodation in Chowgam of Shopian near the army camp for Rs 1,600 per month on July 16, a day before they last contacted their family members back home.
Relatives of the trio identified as Abrar Ahmad (20), Imtiyaz Ahmad (25) and Abrar Ahmad (17) suspect that they were killed in a “staged encounter” at Mirzapur in Shopian on July 18.
Muhammad Yousuf , the father of one of the missing youth, Abrar Ahmad, said, that today, they met concerned DIG and SSP Rajouri and so far they have cooperated. “We are hopeful that by tomorrow we will get permission to travel to the valley, where we will approach concerned authorities for DNA cross examinations,” Yousuf said as per the srinagar based Agency KNO.
He said that the photographs that have gone viral on social media about the three militants killed in the July 18 encounter at Shopian suggest that slain were “our wards, who were working in Shopian district as labourers.”
“We lost contact with them on July 17. In one night, how all three became militants,” said Yousuf in a broken voice. “We will not sit idle and will demand a fair probe. My entire family is working in the army but innocent killings are not justified at all.”
He said Lieutenant Governor Sinha must order an impartial and independent probe to find out whether slain were militants or civilians. “If it is proved that the encounter was stage managed, strict action must follow,” Yousuf said.
Family members of other two youths have echoed similar concerns and demanded an independent probe into the encounter.
A friend of mine in Shopian called me and said that three labourers have been killed in the orchard and they could be your relatives. Then I contacted their immediate family members who said they were missing for the past 10 days and their phones were not connecting.
Then we compared the pictures and we recognised them India Today reported. There is no connection with any militant groups. It is absolutely impossible. We have asked the authorities to give us permission to go to Shopian so that we can see,” said Bashir Ahmad, one of the relatives of the boys in Rajouri.
Social activist from Rajouri, Guftar Ahmed Chowdhary said, “The family members were apprehensive that they might have been put in quarantine given the inter-district travel and might contact soon. Days turned into weeks, and when they lost patience, they reached out to me, after which we registered the FIR.”
Meanwhile In a significant development, Jammu and Kashmir police said that police will carry out DNA sampling of slain militants of July 18 Ashmipora, Shopian encounter, for cross examination and matching purpose besides all other aspects will be investigated as per law in due course of time.
In a statement issued, a police spokesman said that taking cognisance of the claim by the families and media reports, Shopian Police will examine the claimants and carry out DNA sampling for matching purposes. “Besides identification, Police will also investigate all other aspects as per the law in due course of time,” the spokesman said.
He said that the district Police Rajouri have been approached by some families yesterday claiming that their kins had gone to Shopian for labour work and contacted on phone on 17th July. “As per families when they didn’t contact them after 17th July, they lodged a missing report at police post Peeru on August 10,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, social media reported that the militants killed in an operation at Shopian on July 18 were the kin of three families from Rajouri.
The police also said that apropos to its earlier press note regarding the July 18 operation, Police had provided sufficient time for identification of bodies at PCR Kashmir Srinagar. “However, the bodies could not be identified and they were buried in the presence of the Magistrate after conducting a post-mortem and lifting of DNA samples,” the police spokesman said.
Meanwhile, police said that the army has also taken notice of the family and social media claims regarding the said operation and initiated investigations. Pertinently.
However, social media remained abuzz with netizens posting updates that “July 18 Shopian encounter was stage managed and trio killed were labourers from Rajouri district.”
Defence Spokesman in Srinagar, Colonel Rajesh Kalia said that the army has noted social media inputs linked to the operation at Shopian on July 18. “The three militants killed during the operation have not been identified and the bodies were buried based on the established protocols. Army is investigating the matter,” he said.