Army admits three killed in Shopian are missing Rajouri youth, orders “disciplinary action” for violating AFSPA rules

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Srinagar: 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.

The statement further says that Indian Army is committed to ethical conduct of operations, “Further updates on the case will be given periodically without affecting due process of the law of the land.”

Following the allegations of staged killing by the families, two separate probes were initiated by the J-K police and the army. On 13 August, a team of Shopian police visited Rajouri to collect DNA samples of the families that were to be matched with the trio killed in Shopian. However, more than a month has passed, the families still await the results.

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