Shopian fake encounter: All three bodies were fresh, had not decomposed which is a rare sight: Gravedigger; Trio laid to rest amid sobs, tears; Our struggle for justice will continue, say families
After around 80 days, bodies of three labourers from Rajouri, who were killed in a stage managed encounter were exhumed early morning Saturday in north Kashmnir’s Baramulla district and later handed over to their families in presence of senior officials of police and administration.
An official said, that in the wee hours, bodies were exhumed in Baramulla district as the families of the slain trio had reached Srinagar late night Friday. The families of the slain trio said that bodies of their loved ones were laid to rest in their native village in Rajouri amid sobs and tears.
The families of the slain trio thanked the Rajouri administration, police and media for helping them in bringing back the bodies. The bodies of the slain trio were buried at a graveyard where almost 200 identified and unidentified militants are laid to rest.
Today, heavy contingents of police and CRPF were put in place to prevent media men and any large gathering at the graveyard. “It was a very silent exhumation,” a witness said.
Gravedigger Abdul Majid said that the bodies of three Rajouri youth were fresh and odourless. “They had not decomposed, which is a rare sight. I draped them in a fresh shroud for their burial at Rajouri,” said Majid as per KNO.
The families of the slain trio however, said they will continue to demand an exemplary punishment to the army men involved in the fake encounter. “Our struggle for justice will continue till guilty are punished,” said Muhamamd Yousuf, father of Abrar Ahmed, one of the slain youth.
On 18 July, three youths namely Abrar Ahmad, Imtiyaz Ahmad and Ibrar were killed in a fake encounter at Amshipora, Shopian. After loosing contact with their children, Rajouri families filed missing report in the concerned police station in the first week of August after which they came to know about the killing of their loved ones.
Later, they demanded for DNA reports and accordingly samples of six family members were taken. It took police around 40 days to come out with the results of DNA samples after which IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar stated that the samples of parents of three Rajouri youth had matched.
On September 18, in a brief statement, the Army had stated 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. The three families from Rajouri had identified their sons through pictures that went viral on social media.
The army had ordered a court of inquiry while police and the administration had been probing the case separately. On 25 September police also confirmed that three persons in Amshipora were labours of Rajouri.
Earlier, the Inspector General of Police Kashmir Vijay Kumar said, “Since DNA samples matched with the family, three dead bodies will be exhumed and handed over to families after due process of law.“
Police have also started the investigation of the case on other fronts and the Jammu Kashmir Police has also arrested two persons in said case. Both have been sent on eight days of judicial remand.
The Indian Army is also investigating the case that has said in a statement, “Competent disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable.”
Although, there has been no action initiated against any army personnel to date.