Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh on Monday said that the investigation into the killing of three men by security forces in Shopian in July was in its final stages, PTI reported.

“The SSP [Senior Superintendent of Police] Shopian is himself monitoring the investigation process of the case and further details about the case will be shared very soon,” Singh told reporters. “Our investigations are in the final stage.”

The top police officer said that both the police and the Indian Army were investigating the case, but refused to divulge any more details.

The police had said last week that the deoxyribonucleic acid samples of the three men – 20-year-old Imtiyaz Ahmad and 16-year-old Ibrer Ahmad, both from Dharsakri village, and 25-year-old Mohammed Ibrar of Tarkasi village – had matched with those of their parents in Rajouri district. The three young men were related to one another. Their families had claimed that they were labourers, not militants, as labelled by the security forces.

The Army had said on September 18 that it had found evidence that its personnel misused the powers under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1990, in the episode. It launched a formal inquiry into the deaths last month.

The case

On August 9, the families of the three men had gone to a local police post with a missing persons complaint, saying that they last spoke to their kin on July 17, a day ahead of the encounter. The missing persons complaint was lodged on August 10.

For three weeks, the family had waited to approach the police. “We thought they might have been taken into quarantine in Shopian by the administration and that’s why they didn’t call us,”Lal Hussain, the maternal uncle of Imtiyaz Ahmad, had told Scroll.in. “We had heard the quarantine period is for 21 days.”

Soon after the complaint was lodged, pictures of the three missing youth went viral on social media. It purportedly showed the dead bodies of three “unidentified terrorists” allegedly killed in a gunfight with security forces in Shopian on July 18.

On July 18, the security forces had said that they received specific inputs about the presence of militants in the area, after which they began the operation. They also said that the suspected militants had allegedly opened fire at the security forces.

Also read: Unidentified terrorists or labourers from Jammu? Kashmir police promise DNA tests to establish truth