Conflict

Statements of key witnesses being recorded, says Army on ‘extrajudicial killing’ in Shopian

Amnesty had demanded an independent civilian probe calling it an ‘Extrajudicial Killing’ 

Srinagar: Army on Monday said that a high-level Court of Inquiry is underway into the alleged stage-managed encounter of July 18 that took place at Amshipora, Shopian, and the statements of key witnesses are being recorded.

Three unidentified “militants” were killed in the gunfight. Later pictures went viral on social media after three families from Rajouri district claimed that slain were not militants but their wards, who had gone to Shopian to work as labourers to earn a living.

On August 11, the army had stated that it had taken note of the social media reports where netizens had termed the encounter as a fake and maintained that “investigation into the matter was ordered.”

In a statement issued today, Defence spokesman Rajesh Kalia said that as intimated on August 11, a high-level court of inquiry into the operation Amshipora, Shopian is under process.

“Statements of key witnesses are being recorded and progress is being monitored closely. Additional civil witnesses are being asked to depose before the CoI Concurrently, DNA samples have been collected from Rajouri under the aegis of Jammu and Kashmir police and sent for matching with the militants killed on July 18, 2020,” the spokesman said.

He said that the army is committed to the ethical conduct of all the Counter militancy operations. “Cases, where doubts are raised, are investigated under due process as per the law of the land. Since the case is under investigation, further details will be shared periodically, as appropriate without affecting the due legal process,” the Defence spokesman said.

Pertinently, a special team from Jammu and Kashmir Police had visited Rajouri recently and collected the samples of families of the slain trio. The samples were sent to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for cross-matching the reports of which are expected by September 5.

The families have been demanding an independent probe, a demand supported by the Amnesty International and other civil society groups.

 

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