Reyaz Rashid

Bodies of Rajouri trio killed in Shopian ‘fake’ encounter exhumed, handed over to family

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Photo-Reyaz Rashid/Kashmir Images

Gantamulla (Bla): Bodies of three men from Rajouri, killed in an alleged fake encounter by Army in Shopian district of south Kashmir in July this year, were exhumed and handed over to their families Saturday.

Hours after Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said the legal process to exhume and handover the bodies was on and would be completed soon, the exhumation was done very early Saturday morning at Gantamulla graveyard amid tight security in presence of a Magistrate, SSP Baramulla and other officials of police, and the family members of slain labourers who had travelled from Rajouri to Baramulla, an official said.

Pertinently, three labourers from Rajouri district were killed in an alleged fake encounter by Army on July 18 at Amshipora, Shopian in south Kashmir and dubbed as “unidentified militants” and buried at the Gantamulla graveyard where more than 200 militants are buried.

“The bodies of the three persons {Imtiyaz Ahmed (25), Abrar Ahmad (20) and Mohmmmad Ibrar (17)} were exhumed and then handed over to their families,” the officials said.

The families will take the bodies to their native village to bury them there, they added.

Muhammad Yousuf, father of Abrar Ahmad, one of the victims, said, “We travelled from Rajouri to Baramulla and early this morning we received the bodies of our sons after they were exhumed and handed over to us. Now we are leaving back to Rajouri.”

“We want stern punishment to the army-men involved in the killing of our beloved sons,” he added.

Choudhary Guftar, a social activist from Rajouri, who witnessed the exhumation, said that the distressed parents of the slain trio identified their beloved sons from the photographs that were clicked at the time of their burial.

A local grave digger Abdul Majid, who has buried more than 200 bodies in the graveyard said, “This is the first exhumation in this graveyard.”

Pertinently, the DGP had on Friday said that the legal process to exhume the bodies had been started and will be completed soon.

On September 30, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said since the DNA samples matched with the family, the three bodies will be exhumed and handed over to families after due process of law.

On July 18, the Army claimed three militants were killed in Amshipura village in the higher reaches of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

However, the Army initiated an inquiry after social media reports indicated the three men were from Rajouri district in Jammu and had gone missing at Amshipura.  The families of the trio from Rajouri who worked as labourers in Shopian had also filed a police complaint.

The Army completed the probe in four weeks and on September 18, the force said it has found “prima facie” evidence that its troops “exceeded” powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) during the encounter and initiated disciplinary proceedings.

The police also launched its investigations and collected the DNA samples of the families to match with the slain persons.

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