Fake encounter at LoC: 3 arrested, probe ordered

When the bodies of three "militants" were exhumed on Friday almost a month after the Army had claimed to have killed them in an encounter on the Line of Control in Machil sector, it was established that they were not militants, but civilians who were lured to an Army camp in Kalaroos ahead of Kupwara and then killed in a staged encounter only to secure cash award.

Police claim they have already cracked the case and arrested three persons: a jawan of the Territorial Army, a counter-insurgent and a former special police officer who had lured these three young men from their Nadihal village in Baramulla to Army's 4 Rajputana camp at Kalaroos, from where they were ferried to the LoC and killed in a staged encounter at Sona Pindi. 

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said this was a very serious case and his government would not allow the culprits to go scot-free. "Corps commander of the 15 Corps Lt General N C Marwah had come to call on me here today and he assured Army's full co-operation in the police investigation," he said. "The GoC of the Northern Command too assured full support and already ordered a high-level internal probe to inquire into the incident transparently and book anybody if found guilty."

The defence spokesman, too, issued a statement saying the Army is concerned about the seriousness of these allegations and promised "a fast track inquiry to ascertain the facts" and "expeditious action to bring guilty to book".

According to Sopore SP Altaf Khan, their probe began when the parents of Shehzad Ahmad, Riyaz Ahmad and Mohammad Yusuf Lone lodged a complaint at the Panzulla police station on May 10, accusing a local counter-insurgent, Bashir Ahmad Lone, of kidnapping the three men. Sources say the police immediately investigated the phone details of the three missing men and soon the mystery surrounding their sudden disappearance started to unravel.

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