Youths were kidnapped, killed in cold blood & labelled as terrorists; Informer turns approver, Captain given option of Court Martial
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU: In one of the rarest of the rare cases, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has established that the three civilian youths of Rajouri, who had disappeared in Shopian in July 2020, had been kidnapped, killed in the cold blood and labelled as terrorists under a conspiracy in which a captain of Army and two local informers allegedly played a key role.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directions, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had visited the families of the three youths and assured them maximum possible support from the Government after it was established that they were the same who, according to an Army statement, had been killed as militants in an encounter at Amshipora Shopian on July 17, 2020. Their bodies were exhumed weeks after the burial in Sheeri area of Baramulla, returned to the families and buried with fresh religious rituals in Rajouri.
The investigation was simultaneously conducted by Additional DC of Shopian, Army and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the J&K Police which registered FIR at Heerpora Shopian Police Station. Officials said that the Captain has been arrested by the Army while the two local informers have been arrested by the Police.
The service rifle of the officer has also been seized.The ‘encounter’ had become suspicious as, in a rare case, the J&K Police distanced itself from the operation and claimed in its statement that the operation had been conducted by the Army. It claimed that the Police reached the spot after the shootout had ended.
In days of filing the charge sheet in the trial court, J&K Police on Sunday issued a detailed statement on the killing of the three innocent youths of Rajouri which is seen as a rare attempt of protecting the Police organisation’s credibility. Sources said that the Army has also cooperated and coordinated with the Police investigation and there has been no resistance or attempt to hush up the matter. Previously such an incident of 3 civilian killings in a fake encounter had been reported from Kupwara in May 2010 when three youths of Nadihal Rafiabad had been found killed and labelled as terrorists.
The Police statement said: “On 18-07-2020, an information was received by Police Station Heerpora that three unidentified terrorists were killed in an operation at village Amshipora by 62RR and 02 pistols with 02 magazines and 04 empty Pistol cartridges, 15 Live cartridges & 15 empty cartridges of AK series Weapon and other objectionable items were recovered from the encounter site. Consequent upon the information, a case FIR No. 42/2020 U/S 307 IPC, 7/27 Arms Act, 16 ULA(P) Act was registered in P/S Heerpora and investigation was set into motion”.
“During the course of investigation, all the efforts were made to establish the identity of the slain persons but all in vain. A signal was flashed to all the police stations of the Jammu Kashmir UT as well as to all the police stations of the country to ascertain the identity of the victims”.
“On 10.08.2020 a signal was received from I/C PP Peeri, District Rajouri mentioning therein that three youth namely 1. Abrar Ahmad S/o Bagga KhanR/o Dharsakri 2. Imtiyaz Ahmad S/o Sabir Hussain R/o Dharsakri 3. Abrar Ahmad S/o Mohd Yousuf R/o Tarkassi, Tehsil Kotranka had gone to Kashmir to work as labour on 16.07.2020 but since then their whereabouts are not known to the family nor they reported back to their respective homes. Further it was informed, that missing reports have been entered in PP Peeri, Rajouri”.
“On receipt of this information, a Police Party from Shopian was deputed for collection of DNA samples from the claimant families. Accordingly, DNA samples of claimant families were taken through team of Doctors Constituted by District Magistrate Rajouri. DNA samples of Claimant families along with DNA samples of the dead bodies were sent to CFSL, Chandigarh for analysis and comparison. Which were identifies as same as 3 missing youths of the District Rajouri”.
“Keeping in view the nature and sensitivity of the case, a Special Investigation Team headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police Hqrs. Shopian was constituted. On receipt of this DNA report, two persons namely 1. Tabish Nazir S/o Nazir Ahmed Malik R/o Chowgam and Bilal Ahmed Lone S/o Ghulam Nabi Lone R/o Arabal Nikas Pulwama were summoned at Police Station Heerpora for questioning and were arrested in the instant Case. Whereas Capt. Bhoopendra Singh @ Maj Basheer Khan of 62RR was detained by Army under relevant sections of law”.
“During investigation it transpired that conspiracy has been hatched by accused Captain Bhoopendra Singh @ Major Basheer Khan of 62 RR, Tabish Nazir S/oNazir Ahmed Malik R/o Chowgam and Bilal Ahmed Lone S/o Ghulam Nabi Lone R/o Arabal Nikas Pulwama to abduct and staged the encounter. They deliberately and purposefully chose not to follow SOPs, they planted illegally acquired weapons and material on their dead bodies after stripping them of their identities and tagged them as hardcore terrorists in possession of war-like stores and deliberately providing false information to colleagues/senior”.
“As per SOPs Army informed the police for registration of FIR. During investigation of above said FIR, sections 307 IPC, 7/27 Arms Act, 16 ULA(P) Act against the slain youth were dropped and the offences under section 302, 364, 201, 436, 120-B, 182 IPC and section 7/25 IA Act against accused Captain Bhoopendra Singh @ Major Basheer Khan of 62 RR, accused Tabish Nazir S/O Nazir Ahmed Malik R/O Chowgam and Bilal Ahmed Lone S/O Ghulam Nabi Lone R/O Arabal Nikas Pulwama was established and therefore incorporated in the instant Case”.
“During the course of investigation, on the disclosure of accused persons led the SIT to recreate all the scenes of crime which includes routes used after meeting the victims and the place where the victims were murdered. During further investigation all the circumstantial evidences which includes two Vehicles, service rifle of Captain Bhoopendra Singh of 62 RR etc. were seized”.
“During investigation, accused Bilal Ahmed Lone S/o Ghulam Nabi Lone R/o Arabal Nikas Pulwama has become approver under relevant Section of law and his statement has been recorded Before Hon’ble Court of CJM, Shopian. Accordingly, on 26-12-2020 Charge Sheet of instant case running in 1400 pages against accused-Captain Bhoopendra Singh @ Major Basheer Khan of 62 RR and Tabish Nazir S/O Nazir Ahmed Malik R/O Chowgam-for commission of offences u/s 302,364,201,436,120B,182 IPC r/w 7/25 IA Act was presented before Hon’ble Chief Judicial Magistrate Shopian for judicial determination”.
“Accordingly, an order has been issued by Hon’ble Court asking the Army Authorities under relevant sections of law to give their opinion whether the accused Captain Bhoopendra Singh @ Major Basheer Khan of 62 RR be tried by the Criminal Court of ordinary jurisdiction or by the Court Martial”.
“During the investigation, statement of 49 witnesses was recorded under relevant sections of law and a total of 75 witnesses were listed under the list of witness annexed with the challan”.