IOK police charge army officer with killing three labourers in staged gunfight – World

The Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) police on Saturday indicted an Indian army captain and his two accomplices of killing three local workers and posing as militants. In a charge sheet filed in a local court, police said the captain had staged a shooting in southern Kashmir on July 8 to appear as a clash with militants. A special investigation team from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, tasked with investigating the fake encounter, filed a 300-page charge sheet against the army officer. Wajahat Hussian, the deputy superintendent of police who headed the investigation committee, was quoted by local media as saying that the charge sheet was brought against three people in the main area and Sessions Court Shopain in southern Kashmir. He identified the defendant as Captain Bhupinder of 62 Rashtriya and Tabish Ahmad and Bilal Ahmad rifles, residents of the Shopain and Pulwama districts of South Kashmir, respectively. On Thursday, the army had said that the evidence summary process had been completed on the fake encounter in which three workers from the Rajouri district of the Jammu region were killed. The army added that the concerned authorities, together with legal advisers, are examining the case to continue with the proceedings. Previously, the family had identified the deceased men as Imtiyaz Ahmad, 21, Abrar Ahmad, 25, and Abrar Khatana, 18, from photos circulated on social media after the shooting. Seventy days later, the bodies of the murdered youths were handed over to their families after DNA samples matched their relatives. Indian Army investigation On September 18, the Indian Army admitted to committing a crime and said its internal investigation identified the three dead men as local residents, without explaining how they had been identified. He also said that an army investigation showed that the soldiers had exceeded the powers granted under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Pakistan subsequently called for a judicial investigation into the killings, calling the statement by the Indian army an “acknowledgment that the Indian occupation forces are guilty of war crimes in IIOJK (Jammu and illegally occupied Kashmir by India).” The Armed Forces Special Powers Act gives the Indian military in occupied Kashmir wide powers to search, capture and even shoot suspects without fear of prosecution. Under the law, local authorities need federal approval to prosecute army or paramilitary soldiers in civilian courts. The special powers were granted to the military in 1990, a year after an armed rebellion broke out in Occupied Kashmir seeking independence for the Himalayan region or amalgamation with Pakistan. Kashmiri civilians and activists have for years accused Indian troops of abusing their powers and repeatedly attacking civilians. In 2000, the Indian army killed five men who were allegedly militants responsible for the massacre of 35 Sikhs in the disputed territories. An investigation later found that the five were local villagers killed in a fake shooting. In 2010, a mass uprising broke out in Occupied Kashmir after a police investigation found that Indian soldiers had killed three civilians in an organized shooting and later said the victims were militants to claim a reward for killing them. The army responded by suspending two officers. India has rejected all requests since 1989 to prosecute Indian soldiers in civilian courts for alleged human rights abuses, including murder and rape, according to official documents. Meanwhile, on Saturday, two militants were killed and two Indian soldiers wounded in a shootout in the village of Shopain in Kanigam. Disputed region The Himalayan region has been at the center of tensions between Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan for decades, the cause of two of three wars between nuclear-armed neighbors. Both countries claim the region in its entirety, but each governs only in part. On August 5, 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi divided the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir into two federally controlled territories and stripped it of its special privileges, claiming this was necessary to better integrate the region with the rest of India. New Delhi flooded troops into the Muslim-majority valley, where armed Kashmiris have fought since the 1990s. India detained thousands, imposed severe movement restrictions and forced a communications cut. Since then, many of those measures have been relaxed, but the internet continues to slow down and a subsequent Covid-19 shutdown has forced millions of Kashmiris to stay in their homes ever since. Earlier this week, a multi-party coalition that opposed India’s unilateral decision won the region’s district council elections.