Srinagar: The Indian Army has initiated court martial proceedings against a captain accused of violating the powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) during a staged encounter in Amshipora village of Shopian, where three civilians were killed.
Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Lt. Colonel Emron Mosavi said, “The Army has initiated general court martial proceedings against a Captain in Op Amshipura, Shopian in South Kashmir in July 2020 after the Court of Inquiry and the Summary of Evidence indicated a need for disciplinary proceedings.”
The officer in a statement said that the Army is “committed” to “ethical conduct” of operations and that further updates in the case will be shared in a manner so as “not to prejudice” the due process of law.
The action against Captain Bhoopendra Singh of the Army’s Rashitriya Rifles (RR) 62 Bn comes more than a year after he was accused of hatching a conspiracy to stage an encounter of three persons whom he passed off as militants in Amshipora village of South Kashmir.
Months after the incident was flagged, the Army said it concluded an inquiry and found that the personnel involved in the operation violated their powers and exceeded the AFSPA. The special law, deemed as “draconian” by human rights bodies, was implemented in the region in the year 1990 after Kashmir Valley was declared a ‘disturbed area’.
The Army Captain, according to the police chargesheet, hatched the conspiracy along with two civilians identified as Tabish Nazir Malik of Chowgam area in Shopian and Bilal Ahmed Lone, a resident of Pulwama, with the motive for "grabbing" a reward money of Rs 20 lakh.
Three civilians hailing from Rajouri area of Pir Panjal valley had arrived in Kashmir in search of work when they were lured into a trap and executed in a staged gunfight close to where they had rented a room. The victims identified as Imtiyaz Ahmed (25), Abrar Ahmad (20), and Ibrar Ahmad (17) were recognised by their families after their pictures were shared online as militants killed by the Army.
The security forces, involved in the operation, had also claimed that two pistols with two magazines and four empty pistol cartridges, 15 live cartridges and 15 empty cartridges of AK series weapon and other “objectionable items” were recovered from the encounter site.
The families of the three workers, who were related to each other, staged multiple protests and claimed they were not terrorists and were killed in a “fake encounter”. The families demanded the return of the dead bodies buried around 100 km away in North Kashmir’s Baramulla as part of the burial norms created for militants to bury them in far away places and avoid law and order situations.