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Amshipora fake encounter: Army completes summary of evidence; accused soldiers could face court martial

Srinagar: Army has completed the Summary of Evidence against two of its soldiers involved in July’s Amshipura Fake encounter in South Kashmir’s Shopian district in which three civilians were killed and a possible court martial could take place after completion of formalities, reports said on Thursday.

Back in August, The Kashmir Monitor was the first to break the news of three labourers from Rajouri going missing and being found dead in Shopian in the same area of Amshipora where Army had claimed killing three militants on July 18.

 

Abrar Ahmad Khan (17) son of Bagga Khan, his brother-in-law Abrar Ahmad (25) son of Mohammad Yusuf, and their relative Imtiyaz Ahmad (20) son of Sabr Hussain, all residents of Peeri, Kotranka in Rajouri district, disappeared after they left home on July 16 to work as daily-wage labourers in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Over two weeks later, the families of the trio were shocked to see the purported picture of three alleged militants killed in an encounter at Amshipora village in the Shopian district on July 18.

Their identities were subsequently confirmed through a DNA test. The bodies were handed over to their families in Baramulla in October.

On Thursday, General Officer in Command of the strategically located XV Corps Lt Gen B S Raju said the Summary of Evidence has been completed but refused to give away any details of the outcome.

“Yes, the Summary of Evidence has been completed and the army will take next course of action as per the law,” Lt Raju told news agency PTI.

The army had ordered a Court of Inquiry earlier this year after reports appeared on social media that the three youths, labelled as militants, had been killed by its personnel.

The Court of Inquiry, which completed its probe earlier in September, had found “prima facie” evidence that troops had “exceeded” powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) during the July 18 encounter in which three men were killed. Following this, the army had initiated disciplinary proceedings.

Quoting officials in know of the development, PTI reported that the two army personnel may face court martial proceedings for violating the powers vested under the AFSPA, 1990 and not following the Do’s and Don’ts of Chief of Army Staff as approved by the Supreme Court.

“The officials said the accused personnel may face serious charges under the law,” the news agency reported.

They also said the role of the three civilians as well as the person who had allegedly led the army to the youths in Amshipura in Shopian needs to be thoroughly examined by the police.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Thursday, Defence Spokesman in Srinagar Colonel Rajesh Kalia said: “The process of recording the summary of evidence has been completed. The same is being examined by the concerned authorities in consultation with legal advisors for proceeding further.”

Colonel Kalia said that the army is committed to the ethical conduct of operations. “Further details will be shared in a manner so as not to prejudice the proceedings under army law,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had visited the families of the three Rajouri youths and expressed condolences. He had also assured the families that the UT government will extend full support to them and ensure that justice is done in the case.

He had also conveyed the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the government stands with the aggrieved families, and they will be taken care of with all support from the government. (With inputs from PTI)