Valley News Desk

Rajouri: The DNA samples of the people, who claim to be the relatives of the three youths killed in an alleged fake encounter in Shopian district, were collected in a Jammu and Kashmir government hospital in presence of a police team sent from Srinagar, officials said Friday.

The three youths, Mohammad Imtiyaz and Ibrar Ahmed, residents of Kathuni mohalla of Dharsakri village of Rajouri, and Mohammad Ibrar, a resident of Tarkassi village of Rajouri, had left their homes on the pretext of working as labourers in Shopian and went out of contact with their families on July 17.

The officials said a total of six DNA samples were collected from the family members of the three missing youths.

The police team, which arrived here on Thursday, met family members of the youths.

Rajouri District Magistrate Mohammad Nazir Sheikh said an investigation team of police approached the administration for facilitating the collection of DNA samples after which a magistrate was appointed and samples were collected in GMC Associated Hospital Rajouri.

“Our role was to facilitate DNA sampling only as it is the investigation team of Kashmir police which is probing the matter,” he said.

The father of Imtiyaz, one of the missing persons, was seen on social media pleading for a visit to Kashmir and exhuming the bodies of his son and others for a proper burial in Rajouri.

He even went on to say that if any of the three youths was remotely connected to terrorist organisations, he was ready to face the consequences.

Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Vikay Kumar said Thursday that a police team led by Deputy SP Wajahat has been sent to Rajouri to collect the DNA samples of those claiming to be relatives of the deceased.

Kumar said the DNA samples will be sent to central laboratories for matching.

“There are two aspects of the investigations. One is matching the DNA and then we will be also investigating whether these youths, who had come to work in Kashmir, had any links with terrorists. We will be going through their call details and other technical aspects as well,” he added.

The Army has already initiated an inquiry into an “encounter” carried out by its troops in Amshipora village of Shopian district.

On July 18, the Army claimed three terrorists were killed in the higher reaches of Shopian in south Kashmir. However, no further details were shared.

On Monday, the Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia issued a brief statement saying the Army has noted social media inputs linked to the operations in Shopian on July 18.

“The three terrorists killed during the operation have not been identified and the bodies were buried based on established protocols. The Army is investigating the matter,” Kalia had said.

This has sparked a controversy with political parties demanding an impartial probe into the alleged encounter to ensure speedy justice.

The controversy erupted after families filed a complaint at a police station in Rajouri stating that their three members are missing since July 17 from the Amshipora area of Shopian where they were working as labourers in apple and walnut orchards. (PTI)

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