Jammu & Kashmir

Provided ‘sufficient time’ for identification, says police, ‘will investigate further’

Srinagar: In wake of the reports of the killing of three “militants” who have been identified as the missing labourers of Rajouri on basis of photographs by the families, Police on Tuesday said that it will investigate the case further.

According to a police statement, district Police Rajouri was approached by some families on August 10, claiming that their kins had gone to Shopian for labour work and contacted last time on the phone on July 17.

Quoting families, Police said that when the trio did not contact their families back home after July 17, they lodged a missing report at Police Post Peeru on 10, 08, 2020.

In the meantime, Police said, social media reported that the militants killed in an operation at Shopian on July 18, are reportedly their kins of the families who approached police on August 10, seeking whereabouts of the trio.

Regarding this, Police said that it had provided “sufficient time” for identification of dead bodies at PCR Kashmir in Srinagar. However, the dead bodies could not be “identified” and they were buried in the presence of Magistrate after conducting a post-mortem and lifting DNA samples.

However, Police said that it will “examine the claimants and carry out DNA sampling for matching purpose”. Besides identification, Police will also investigate all other aspects as per the law in due course of time.

Meanwhile, police said that the Indian army has also taken notice of the family and social media claims regarding the said operation and initiated investigations.

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.”

A 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.”

On August 10, a family member of one of the boys 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.

Soon after their identification, the family said they are seeking permission from the Rajouri district administration to go to Shopian on Tuesday.

The family member said that all the three young men had gone to Shopian to earn their livelihood and had no link with militancy.

Earlier, The Communist Party of India (Marxist) 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 heinous 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.

In this regard, advisor to the Governor, Farooq Khan has said that ‘it is true that a report about missing people has been filed, but the rumours about the staged and fake encounter can be a conspiracy to vitiate the peace in Kashmir’.

“I want to tell you that any such conspiracy will be crushed. Regarding the missing persons, the enquiry is going on and once anything comes we will let you know,” he told the press.


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