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Army says it has no system of cash rewards for its personnel

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Shopian ‘fake encounter’ case

Srinagar: The Army on Monday denied that its captain, who is facing the allegation of a fake encounter in Amshipora (Shopian), was “driven” by a Rs 20-lakh reward for killing three Rajouri youth and labeling them as “terrorists”, saying there was no system of cash rewards for its personnel for any acts in combat situations or otherwise in the line of duty.

The brief statement was released by Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia.

“There are media reports quoting that Amshipora encounter actions were driven by a Rs 20 lakh award for the killing of terrorists. It is clarified that the Indian Army has no system of cash awards for its personnel for any acts in combat situations or otherwise in the line of duty,” the statement said.

It said the reports are “not based on facts of the processes internal to Indian Army”.

Three youths, who were dubbed as “terrorists”, were killed in the alleged fake encounter in July last year.

However, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Jammu and Kashmir Police to probe the incident stated in its charge-sheet that “by staging the encounter” the accused Capt. Bhoopinder Singh and two other civilians –Tabash Nazir and Bilal Ahmed Lone — also “purposefully destroyed evidence of the real crime that they have committed and also have been purposefully projecting false information as part of a criminal conspiracy hatched between them with the motive to grab prize money of Rs 20 lakh”.

The Army had ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident.

The charge-sheet was filed by the police before Chief Judicial Magistrate Shopian on December 26, 2020.

Pertinently, Capt. Bhoopinder Singh is currently in the custody of the Army, with sources saying he may face Court Martial proceeding in the weeks ahead.

The case relates to the July 18, 2020 encounter at Amshipura, Shopian in which three youths of Rajouri district — Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrar — were killed and branded as militants.

After reports emerged on social media that the three youths were not associated with militancy, the Army had ordered a Court of Inquiry which completed its probe in September last year.

It had found “prima facie” evidence that the troops had “exceeded” the powers granted under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

It is pertinent to mention that the bodies of slain youth were exhumed after their DNA samples matched with three families from Rajouri. The bodies of the slain were later taken to Rajouri for burial.

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