Srinagar: The army has asked public to share “information/inputs” about the July 18 encounter in Shopian in which three alleged militants were killed, even as the slain have been identified by some Rajouri families as their kin who had travelled to Kashmir for work.

In a notice published in an English daily in Kashmir on Wednesday, the Victor Force Headquarters has asked people “having credible inputs/information” about the encounter to contact them within 10 days.

“Any person having credible inputs/information on the encounter by Security Forces at Village Amshipora, District Shopian, dated 18 July 2020 may please contact Deputy GOC, HQ CIF (Victor) on tele 01933-247026 within next 10 days,” read the notice by the Victor Force headquarters.

It added that the “identity and details of the person will be kept secret.”

On Tuesday, the army said that a high-level court of inquiry was under way into the alleged encounter of July 18, and the statements of key witnesses are being recorded.

Around three weeks after the encounter, pictures of three dead bodies, purportedly of the slain militants, went viral shocking some families in Rajouri district of Jammu who identified the slain in the picture as their kin missing since July 17 in Shopian.

The missing trio, including a minor boy, had arrived in Shopian to work as labourers.

Abrar Ahmad Khan (16) 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.

Photograph of the three missing persons (Left: Imtiyaz Ahmad, Top Abrar Khan, Bottom, Abrar Ahmad) source: social media

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 on Tuesday, the army said it has begun its probe and recorded statements in connection with the encounter in Shopian.

Srinagar-based Defence spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia issued a statement saying a high-level Court of Inquiry into Operation Amshipora in Shopian is under progress.

“Statements of key witnesses are being recorded and progress is being monitored closely. Additional civil witnesses are being asked to depose before the Court of Inquiry,” he said.

The spokesperson said the DNA samples have been collected from Rajouri by the Jammu and Kashmir police and sent for matching with those of the alleged militants killed on July 18.

 “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 due legal process,” he 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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