DNA samples of 3 men killed in Shopian encounter match with families from Rajouri: Police
Srinagar: The DNA samples of three men who were killed in an alleged fake encounter with the Army in south Kashmir’s Shopian district in July have matched with their families from Rajouri, a senior police officer said on Friday.
Asked whether the three men were indeed labourers, as claimed by their families, and not involved in militant activities, he said “it is a matter of further investigation”.
On July 18, the Army had claimed three militants were killed in Amshipura village in the higher reaches of south Kashmir’s Shopian. It initiated an inquiry after social media reports indicated that the three men were from Rajouri and had gone missing in Amshipura.
The families of the three men claimed they worked as labourers in Shopian and lodged a police complaint.
The police also launched an investigation and collected the DNA samples of the three families from Rajouri to match with the slain men.
“The DNA report has come and matching has taken place,” Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar told reporters here.
Asked if he meant that the DNA samples of the three men have matched with the families from Rajouri, he said, “There is positive matching with the families from Rajouri.”
On whether it had been established that the three men were labourers and not involved in any militant activities, Kumar said, “The police are now taking up further investigations in the case.”
The Army completed its inquiry into the matter in four weeks.
On September 18, the force said it had found “prima facie” evidence that its troops “exceeded” powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) during the encounter and has initiated disciplinary proceedings.
In a brief statement, the Army had stated that the Shopian operation contravened the dos and don’ts of the Chief of Army Staff approved by the Supreme Court.
“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 as approved by the Supreme Court have been contravened.
“Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable,” the statement had said.
Soon after the Army’s statement, the families of slain youth had demanded immediate exhumation of the bodies of their loved ones for proper burial at Rajouri.
The three families from Rajouri had identified their sons through pictures that went viral on social media. The Army had ordered a court of inquiry while police and the administration had been probing the case separately.