Political parties welcome inquiry report of Army in Shopian gunfight

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Srinagar: Political parties in Kashmir have welcomed the outcome of the army inquiry conducted into Shopian gunfight in which army had claimed three “militants” were killed.

The army on Friday said that its personnel had exceeded powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the Shopian gunfight and prima facie evidence indicates that the three killed were indeed residents of Rajouri, as claimed by the three families.

On 18 July, the army killed three persons in a “gunfight” in Shopian’s Amshipora and passed them off as militants. However, on 10 August, from a purported photograph of the killed trio, three families from Rajouri identified them as their kins, who had gone to south Kashmir for a job.

In a statement issued here to media, the army said that it had concluded the inquiry ordered into the killing of three youth from Rajouri. “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 (COAS) as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court have been contravened,” the statement said.

Adding that consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable.

“The evidence collected by the inquiry has prima-facie indicated that the three unidentified militants killed in Op Amshipora were Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohd Ibrar, who hailed from Rajouri. Their DNA report is awaited. Their involvement with terrorism or related activities is under investigation by the police,” reads the statement.

Soon after the statement, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter and wrote, ” The families of the three murdered men had continued to proclaim their innocence. Disciplinary action initiated by the army would suggest the army agrees with the families. The process must remain transparent & he guilty must face the full weight of the law.”

Senior Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party leader Ghulam Hassan Mir demanded punishment to the guilty and compensation for the families.

Taking to a local news gathering agency Kashmir News Service, Mr. Mir said, ” Army inquiry proved it was a fake “encounter”. Action should be taken against all those who were involved in it. These young boys won’t come back but at least Government other than punishing guilty should pay compensation to their families.”

PDP leader and Youth President Waheed Ur Rehman Parra said Government should also punish those involved in the killing of Batmaloo woman and custodial killing in Sopore.

“We welcome any move towards justice but the question is guilty should be punished. But an ecosystem of fear, fake encounters, custodial killings, atrocities have been created where some people think they can do these acts and get away with it. The Government should also provide justice in the custodial killing of Sopore youth, cross-firing killing of a woman in Batmaloo. Will Government justify the killing of a woman in the crossfire, the custodial killing of a Sopore youth.”(KNS)

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