Majid Kapra

Shopian alleged fake encounter: DNA samples of family members collected

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DNA matching, links with militants; police to look from all angles: IGP

Srinagar: A police team from Kashmir today collected the DNA samples of families of all three missing youth of Rajouri, for its subsequent cross-matching with the DNA of three suspected militants who were killed in July 18 encounter at Ashmipora, Shopian.

The development comes barely a few hours after Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said that a police team headed by DySP rank officer had left for Rajouri to complete legal formalities.

Sources said that the police team from Kashmir reached Rajouri and met the families of all three missing youth, who claim that the three persons killed at Shopian on July 18 were their kin.

The investigation team met with the parents and other family members of the missing trio in the District Police Office Rajouri and recorded their statements,” sources said.

Later, in presence of a magistrate, DNA samples of family members of all three missing youth were taken for cross-matching, added the sources.

Sources said that the DNA samples were collected by a team of doctors from Rajouri district hospital as per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Meanwhile, several delegations of locals, elders and civil society groups met the police team from Kashmir and Rajouri police officers and demanded an impartial and independent probe into the July 18 encounter that took place at Ashmipora, Shopian in which three youth, who according to police and army were militants, were killed.

Earlier, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar said in Srinagar that a police team from Kashmir has been sent to Rajouri district in Jammu region to collect DNA samples of the people claiming to be relatives of the three youths killed in an alleged fake encounter in Shopian district of south Kashmir last month.

“We have sent a team headed by Deputy SP Wajahat today (Thursday) to Rajouri to collect the DNA samples of those claiming to be relatives of the deceased,” Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

Kumar said the DNA samples will be sent to central laboratories for matching.

“There are two aspects of the investigations. One is matching the DNA and then we will be also investigating whether these youths, who had come to work in Kashmir, had any links with militants. We will be going through their call details and other technical aspects as well,” he added.

The Army has already initiated an inquiry into an “encounter” carried out by its troops in Amshipora village of Shopian district.

On July 18, the Army claimed three militants were killed in the higher reaches of Shopian in south Kashmir. However, no further details were shared.

On Monday, Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia issued a brief statement, saying the Army has noted social media inputs linked to the operations in Shopian on July 18, 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,” Kalia had said.

This has sparked a controversy with political parties demanding an impartial probe into the alleged encounter to ensure speedy justice.

The controversy erupted after some families filed a complaint at a police station in Rajouri stating that their three members are missing since July 17 from Amshipora area of Shopian where they were working as labourers in apple and walnut orchards.

The families, who filed the police complaint jointly, gave pictures of their kin — Mohammed Ibrar (21), Ibrar Ahmad (18) and Imtiaz Ahmad (26) — which were subsequently shared with the Kashmir Police for investigation.

The relatives of the youths lodged the missing report with the local police after they failed to contact the trio and news of an encounter came on July 18 from Shopian, a police official said.

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