Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir police have decided to match the DNA of the alleged militants killed in Shopian encounter with the families of three missing Rajouri youth, who claim the slain are their innocent kin.

 Abrar Ahmad Khan (17) son of Bagga Khan, his relative Abrar Ahmad (25) son of Mohammad Yusuf, and 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 three 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. The bodies bear a stark resemblance to two of the missing labourers­ – the 11 year-old-Abrar and the older Abrar. A third body in the picture is placed facedown with clothes pulled up over his head. Bullet marks can be clearly seen on the back of the third body.

“Taking cognizance of the claim made by the families, Shopian Police will examine the claimants and carry out DNA sampling for matching purposes. Besides identification, police will also investigate all other aspects as per the law in due course of time,” a police spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday. 

He said police had provided sufficient time for the identification of dead bodies at Police Control Room Srinagar. “However, dead bodies could not be identified. Later the bodies were buried in presence of Magistrate after conducting a post-mortem and taking their DNA samples”, he said.

The spokesman noted that “some families yesterday approached district police Rajouri claiming that their kin had gone to Shopian to work as labourers and contacted them over the phone on July 17”.

“As per families when they didn’t contact them after July 17. They lodged a missing report at Police Post Peeru on August 8. Meanwhile Social media reported that the terrorists killed in an operation at Shopian on July 18 are reportedly their kin,” the police spokesman said.

The Army has also ordered a probe into the incident.

“We have noted social media inputs linked to the operation at Shopian on 18 Jul 2020.  The three Terrorists killed during the operation have not been identified and the bodies were buried based on established protocols. The army is investigating the matter,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.

Meanwhile. National Conference has constituted a two-member team comprising Advocate Choudhry Liaqat and Advocate Muzaffar Ahmed Khan, to explore all legal options and “if need be file a habeas corpus petition in the High Court about the disappearance of the missing youth”.

 In a joint statement, National Conference leaders headed by Provincial President Devender Singh Rana urged the administration to mobilize police for tracing the missing boys earnestly and let their families know about their welfare and whereabouts.

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