Jammu & Kashmir

‘That is him’, says family member of one of the three ‘killed in Shopian’

Srinagar: A family member has identified their kin saying that he is one of the three ‘killed’ in Shopian. He claimed that he could identify the family member from photographs purportedly of those killed in Shopian on July 18.

“It is for sure that it is him. All three are boys from Rajouri,” he said.

They family said they are seeking permission from the Rajouri district administration to go to Shopian on Tuesday.

He said all the three young men had gone to Shopian to earn their livelihood and had no link with militancy.

Earlier, 21 days after three labourers from Rajouri went missing from Kashmir’s Shopian district, the families of the missing labourers had registered an FIR at Peeri Police Post, in Rajouri district.

Hailing from Rajouri’s Peeri Tehsil, Imtiaz Ahmed son of Sabir Hussain, Ibrar Ahmed, son of Bagha Khan and Ibrar Ahmed son of Mohammad Yousuf, left their homes on July 15 to find work in Kashmir.

Amidst the lockdown, the trio managed to reach Shopian district where they rented a room, and purchased some essentials, as per the family.

Speaking to Free Press Kashmir, a relative of one of the missing persons said, “the last time we spoke to them was on  July 17, after that we were not able to establish any contact with them.”

Social activist from Rajouri, Guftar Ahmed Chowdhary told Free Press Kashmir, “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.”

Reacting to the news of three missing labourers, and the incident being linked to the Shopian Gunfight, the Indian Army has said that the three militants killed in Shopian have not yet been identified.

“The three Terrorists killed during the operation (in Shopian) have not been identified and the bodies were buried based on established protocols. The Army is investigating the matter,” PRO Rajesh Kalia has said.

Earlier, The CPI (M) had said that the incident of three labourers from Rajouri going missing from Shopian district from July 17 is a serious issue and needs a time-bound judicial probe, CPI (M) has said.

“There are unverified reports that the missing labourers have been killed in a fake encounter in Shopian on July 18. This is shocking and must be probed by a sitting High Court judge in a time-bound manner, CPI (M) said.

“In the past also unfortunate incidents of civilians being killed in fake encounters for rewards and promotions have been reported in Kashmir. The 2010 unrest was the creation of the Machil fake encounter. Those who are proved to be involved in such henious crimes be brought to justice,” CPI (M) added.

Earlier, Ex Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, who has been in detention since August 2019 reacted to the news of three missing labourers from Rajouri, saying that she is shocked to hear that they have been killed in a staged encounter.

The twitter handle is being operated by Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter, Iltija Mufti.

“Armed forces have a free hand to operate with impunity. Explains why bodies are allowed to decompose at unknown locations. Probes into recent encounters must be ordered,” she added.

A senior Kashmiri journalist, Ahmed Ali Fayaz took to twitter and wrote that “all three ‘suspected militants’ killed in Amshipora Shopian ‘encounter’ on 18 July 2020, have been repeatedly identified as the missing labourers of Rajouri on basis of photographs by the families.”

Fayaz wrote that if this was the truth, then it would be the first such case (of fake encounter) after killing of 3 civilians in Machil in 2010.

SSP Shopian Amrit Paul Singh said, “we are investigating the case.”

 

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