‘Killing of missing labourers in fake encounter is war crime’

the killing of three missing labourers from Rajouri by Indian troops in yet another fake encounter in Shopian has drawn severe criticism from across the aisle.

The Hurriyat forum led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a statement in Srinagar, today, said that the reports about the killing of three innocent labourers in staged encounter in Shopian by Indian troops had brought back the painful memories of Pathribal and Machil fake encounters. The forum said staged killings, torture and disappearances are the result of the heavy militarisation of Jammu and Kashmir and the complete immunity enjoyed by Indian troops, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths of Kashmiris and destruction of their property.

The statement pointed out that since last year those Kashmiris killed in encounters were buried discreetly by the authorities in far-off places as their bodies are not even handed over to their families raising serious questions about the whole exercise. “It is extremely inhuman and immoral and to not even hand over the bodies of those killed to their kith and kin for identification and burial.” The Hurriyat forum reiterated that human rights abuses against the people of Kashmir were at their peak and asked all rights organisations and the world conscience to ask India to stop it immediately and sought an impartial probe into this brutal and heart-wrenching incident.

Tehreek-e-Muzahamat Chairman Bilal Ahmed Sidiqui in a statement while terming the massacre a grim reminder of brutalities inflicted upon people of Jammu by India said that the gruesome incident was just another addition to the long and painful list of stage-managed encounters. “Be it Pathribal, Machil or Shopian – Indian troops have been time and again indulging in such acts which by all means and standards amount to serious war crimes,” he added. He asked the international community, United Nations Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organisations to take cognizance of this inhuman act.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement said that the killing of the labourers in a staged encounter had raised questions about all such encounters in recent months especially in view of the Indian government’s decision not to identify bodies or hand them over to their families and bury them in remote, inaccessible and unidentified places. The DFP pointed out that such an episode has elucidated why bodies, post encounters, are allowed to decompose at unknown locations. It added it is high time that impartial and high-level probes into recent encounters must be ordered.

Reacting to the incident, CPI-M in a statement in Srinagar said this is shocking and must be probed by a sitting High Court judge in a time-bound manner. The statement added that in the past also unfortunate incidents of civilians being killed in fake encounters for rewards and promotions have been reported in Kashmir.

It is worth mentioning here that family members of three labourers from Rajouri who went missing in Shopian district last month said that on the basis of photographs released by Indian Army with caption saying that three unidentified ‘militants’ were killed in a gunfight on July 18 were in fact their innocent relatives. They said they had lodged a missing report with the police in Rajouri. The missing labourers were identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad, Abrar Ahmad and Abrar. Indian Army has been involved in many fake encounters including Pathribal encounter of March 2000 and Machil encounter of 2010.

Meanwhile, APHC-AJK leader Muhammad Farooq Rehmani in a statement in Islamabad strongly condemned the continued wave of Indian terrorism and killings of civilians in fake encounters in Shopian. He urged on the international humanitarian groups to raise the plight of Kashmiri Muslims before the United Nations. KMS-4K

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