DNA Of 3 Men Killed By Army In J&K Encounter Confirms They Were Labourers

Shopian Encounter: A court of inquiry has already indicted the soldiers involved and said that disciplinary action under the Army Act is being initiated against them

DNA Of 3 Men Killed By Army In J&K Encounter Confirms They Were Labourers

3 men were killed in a staged encounter in J&K's Shopian in July, their families alleged

Srinagar:

DNA profiling has established that the three young men killed by the Army during an alleged encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district in July were, in fact, labourers from Rajouri.

Police today said that the reports matched that of three cousins - Abrar (20), Imtiyaz (25) and Ibrar Ahmed (17), who worked as labourers. Army soldiers had labelled the three "terrorists", picked them up from their rented accommodation in Shopian and shot them dead in a staged incident.

A court of inquiry by the Army has already indicted the soldiers involved in the encounter and said that disciplinary action under the Army Act is being initiated against them. 

The inquiry found the soldiers had exceeded powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and also acted in contravention of the "Do's and Don'ts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) approved by the Supreme Court".

The "encounter" triggered a major outcry after photographs of the three men surfaced on social media. The families subsequently identified them as cousins who had been out of touch with them from July 17.

In view of the controversy that followed, the army and the police said they would investigate the case.

At that time, people living in the area told NDTV they were called by the police and the army to identify the bodies - none of them turned out to be locals.

"We were called to identify the bodies. We could not identify any of them - they were not locals. They had bullets in their face, eyes and chest," said Mohammad Ashraf, a villager who lives just 100 meters from where the encounter took place.

The role of the police and the nature of their investigation has also been criticised, with many pointing to the delay in DNA profiling.

DNA samples had been taken from the families on August 13 and it has taken 43 days to police to make the results public. The families of the men who were killed have alleged that efforts are being made to cover up the case.