Jammu & Kashmir

Three civilians killed in Poonch were seen being tortured by army in leaked video, confirms Sarpanch

JKNC members protest at Nawa-e-Subh office in Srinagar, Kashmir on December 23, over the killing of three civilians in Poonch. [FPK Photo / Umar Farooq]

Poonch: Two days after the killing of three civilians in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, the village sarpanch and two of the victims’ relatives have asserted that they are among the villagers seen in a video enduring severe beatings and torture inflicted by unidentified army personnel.

The video depicts the men Safeer Hussain, 48, Mohammad Showkat 28, and Shabbir Ahmad 25, pleading for their lives, adding to the trauma experienced by their families and neighbours, The Wire reported.

While the army and the JK administration have not disclosed the responsible party for the killings, locals claim the men died in army custody.  The Union territory’s administration, supervised by the home ministry of India, announced compensation and compassionate appointments for the families of the deceased.

Speaking to The Wire, Mehmood Ahmed, the village’s sarpanch identified Shabbir and Showkat from the viral video, in which army personnel can be seen brutally beating the captive men and throwing chilli powder on to the bare buttocks of some of them.

Topa Peer village, where the victims lived, is under internet shutdown, preventing access to information. The sarpanch mentioned that villagers are unable to visit grieving families due to army restrictions in the area as deployment is already there.

The father of one victim, Mohammed Shabbir, expressed anguish at seeing his son’s lifeless body, marked with stitches and signs of electrocution, the report mentioned.

While the army claims an ongoing investigation and cooperation in the probe, the incident has strained relations between the local community and the military. The JK administration has initiated legal action, though the cause of death remains unspecified. Political leaders, including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have condemned the killings, demanding a transparent inquiry and accountability for human rights violations.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) echoed these sentiments, emphasising the need for a swift investigation and justice for the victims, highlighting the longstanding demand for accountability in Jammu and Kashmir.

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