The Shopian chief judicial magistrate remanded two civilians, who were being questioned in the July 18 encounter case by the Indian Army, to seven-day police custody, The Indian Express reported. Three young men, who were alleged to be militants, were killed by security forces in July.

Unidentified officials told the newspaper that the two civilians worked as “informers” of the Indian Army and were suspects in the killing that took place in Amshipora of Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district. A third suspect in the case, who is detained, has not been arrested.

One of the remanded civilian belongs to the Shopian district, while the other is from Pulwama. They have not been named by the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

On Saturday, the three had deposed before the Army Court of Inquiry. Unidentified officials said they were the last ones in contact with the three youth killed in July.

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

On Monday, the army began the Summary of Evidence, which is a step before a possible court martial, in the case.

Last week, the police had said 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. Their families had claimed that they were labourers, not militants, as labelled by the security forces.

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 spoken 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 “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.