J-K police in Rajouri to collect DNA samples of relatives of 3 ‘militants’ killed in encounter
Relatives of the three men say they were labourers who had gone to Shopian to work in apple orchards before the disappeared last month.
A Jammu and Kashmir police team from Shopian reached Rajouri on Thursday to collect DNA samples of three families to match them with those of three young men allegedly killed in a fake encounter and buried in Baramulla, a top official said.
“Today a police team from Shopian reached Rajouri. It will take DNA samples of the families before returning. Thereafter, an analysis will be done and then something may emerge. The Shopian police team has just reached and the formalities are being completed by them,” Rajouri district commissioner Nazir Sheikh said,
“There is no decision to send these families on August 16 to Baramulla and there is no such communication with us as of now but families did approach us,” he said.
The DC said there is no authentication that the three men were killed in a fake encounter by security forces.
“Matching the DNA with three bodies may take place at a later stage but only missing persons’ complaint has been lodged with us and we are working on the basis of it. We can’t say anything else on it because there is no authentication as of now”.
The three men have been missing since July 17.
Lal Hussain, uncle of Imtiyaz Ahmad, one of the three missing men said, “The families are in a state of shock. The pictures that went viral on social sites are of my nephew Imtiyaz Ahmad and two other relatives Ibrar Ahmad and Ibrar Ahmad Khan.
He claimed that the administration had promised to send the families to Baramulla on August 16 where the bodies of the “terrorists” have been buried.
“In 2018 my nephew Imtiyaz Ahmad had gone to Shopian to work in an apple orchard. In 2019 he cleared his 12th class examination and wanted to pursue his studies but his father is just too poor. This year he again went to Shopian on July 2 and was joined by the other two on July 17 to work in apple orchards but they never returned,” he said.
Ibrar Ahmad, 26, son of Mohammad Yousuf of Tarkassi had worked in Kuwait for four years as labourer on a working visa. He was the father of a 15-month-old boy..
“They were simple nomads, who wanted to support their families. They never indulged in any terror activities,” Hussain asserted.
The families of three labourers had lodged a missing report with Rajouri police on August 9.
The three young men aged 21, 26 and 18 years had left Rajouri and reached Shopian via Mughal Road on July 2 and July 17 to work as labourers but since then remain missing.
Lal Hussain had last spoken to his nephew Imtiyaz on July 17 at 7.30 PM.
Defence spokesperson of 15 Corps and 14 Corps, Colonel Rajesh Kalia on August 10 had said, “We have noted social media inputs linked to the operation at Shopian on July 18. The three terrorists killed during the operation have not been identified and the bodies were buried based on established protocols. Army is investigating the matter”.
On Tuesday National Conference leaders headed by provincial president Devender Singh Rana urged the administration to mobilise the police for tracing the missing men earnestly and let their families know about their welfare and whereabouts.
NC also constituted a two member team of the party functionaries, comprising advocates Choudhry Liaqat and Muzaffar Ahmed Khan, to explore all the legal options and if needed file a habeas corpus petition in the High Court about the three men .
CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami and Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari have also demanded an order by the Lt Governor for a time-bound judicial probe.
“The incident of three labourers from Rajouri going missing from Shopian district from July 17 is a serious issue and needs a time-bound judicial probe,” said Tarigami.
According to media reports the trio went missing just a day before the security forces claimed it killed three unidentified militants in Shopian.
“There are unverified reports that the missing labourers have been killed in a fake encounter in Shopian on July 18. This is shocking and must be probed by a sitting High Court judge in a time-bound manner,” he added.
“In the past also unfortunate incidents of civilians being killed in fake encounters for rewards and promotions have been reported in Kashmir. The 2010 unrest was the creation of the Machil fake encounter,” he said.