Custodial Killings

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From The Editor 

First the alleged custodial killing of three youth at Amshipora, Shopian in South Kashmir and then another custodial killing of 23 year old shopkeeper at Sopore in North Kashmir are the two incidents of recent past which has again exposed the working of the security forces operating in Kashmir. And both these incidents could have been easily avoided had forces or the officials heading them exercise restraint. In these two cases young lives were cut short by the forces who seem in no way caring for the rule of law. This is a fact that innocent people lost their lives in custody however in the past there have been number of such incidents which took place in the J&K, even when there were democratically elected governments in place in the erstwhile state.

In Shopian and Sopore cases, the government has ordered enquiry but people have very little hope on the investigations keeping in view the previous track record of such probes which have been ordered after every such killing. In Shopian case were three youth from Rajouri had come to work as labourers in Shopian were killed and dubbed as militants and even army claimed to have recovered weapons from them. The encounter from the very first day was under suspicion and it was after one month that three families from Rajouri lodged a police complaint that three young men were missing who went to Shopian and the families had no contact with them. The next day police collected DNA samples from the families. Even the families identified the bodies which army had claimed to be militants. After investigations army has acknowledged that three people killed in the encounter where from Rajouri and even admitted that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has been exceeded.

Army has concluded its inquiry ordered which according to army spokesman 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 (COAS) as approved by the Supreme Court have been contravened.

The spokesman even said the competent disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable.

As per the report submitted the evidence collected by the inquiry has prima-facie indicated that the three unidentified militants killed in Op Amshipora were Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohd Ibrar, who hailed from Rajouri. Their DNA report is awaited. Their involvement with militants or related activities is under investigation by the police.”

In the killing of 23 year old shopkeeper in Sopore, G N Ittoo, district commissioner (DC), Baramulla, had announced a magisterial probe on September 17. He has entrusted to ADC Baramulla Mohammad Ahsan Mir to conduct the investigation. Mir has been asked to submit the probe report within 20 days. Every innocent killing shakes the faith of people on the system so time is again for fair probe and subsequent action against the culprits which will restore confidence of people over system.

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