Army finds troops guilty of ‘exceeding powers’ in Shopian encounter

Disciplinary action will be taken against 'those found prima facie responsible' for the encounter that killed three people, the Army said.

Jammu and Kashmir, militants, encounter, Shopian
The Army's court of inquiry, which was completed in September last year, found 'prima facie' evidence that the troops had "exceeded" the powers granted under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the Sophian incident. Representational photo: Twitter

An Army’s court of inquiry has found that the troops involved in the Shopian encounter that killed three people had exceeded their authority under the act that provides them special powers to deal with problems in areas considered “disturbed”.

Disciplinary action will be taken against “those found prima facie responsible”, the Army said.

On July 18, Army soldiers had claimed that they had killed three terrorists in an encounter after the fire and security forces at Amshipora in Shopian. However, a few weeks later three families in Rajouri in Jammu said that those who were killed were relatives working as labourers in Shopian. They said the encounter that killed the three was staged.     

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The Army set up a court of inquiry to look into the allegations. The court of inquiry said the troops had exceeded their powers under the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act (AFSPA). 

“The inquiry ordered by the Army authorities into Op Amshipora has been concluded. The inquiry has brought out certain prima-facie evidence indicating that during the operation, powers vested under the AFSPA 1990 were exceeded and the Dos and Don’ts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Supreme Court have been contravened,” a statement issued by the Army said.

“Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable.” 

According to the Army, the three were identified as Imtiyaz Ahmed, 25, Abrar Ahmed, 20, and Mohd Ibrar, 17, from Rajouri. The DNAs have been sent for testing and their links to terrorism are also being investigated, the Army said. The samples for the DNA tests were collected on August 13.

Their families identified them from photos that appeared on social media and said the three had gone missing on July 17.  The three had been staying in renal accommodation. 

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