The Indian Army has completed a key investigation against two of its personnel involved in the July 18 encounter case, in which three labourers were killed, PTI reported on Thursday. While it is still not clear who was held culpable, officials said a court martial could take place after completion of the formalities.
Lieutenant General BS Raju, Chinar Corps Commander, said the Summary of Evidence has been completed, without providing details of the outcome. “Yes, the Summary of Evidence has been completed and the Army will take next course of action as per the law,” he said.
On July 18, the security forces had said that they received specific inputs about the presence of militants in South Kashmir’s Shopian district, after which they began the operation. They claimed that the suspected militants had allegedly opened fire at the security forces. However, family members of the civilians had come forward to clarify that they were labourers and not militants. The families of the deceased – Abrar Ahmed, Imtiyaz Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrar – had sought immediate arrest and conviction of those responsible for the incident.
A formal inquiry into the deaths of the three men began in August. The Court of Inquiry, which completed its investigation in September, found prima facie evidence that its personnel misused powers under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1990, in the episode. Disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act were initiated against the accused personnel.
Two Army personnel are likely to face court martial proceedings for violating the powers vested under AFSPA, and for not following the rules as approved by the Supreme Court.
Officials, however, said the role of the three civilians as well as the person who had allegedly led the Army to them has to be thoroughly examined by the Jammu and Kashmir Police.