It can be termed as cold-blooded murder. The conspiracy that took place back in July has been exposed, as the Jammu and Kashmir police charge-sheeted Captain Bhoopendra Singh of Rashtriya Rifles 62 battalion, Tabish Nazir Malik of Chowgam area in Shopian district, and Bilal Ahmed Lone from Pulwama, who had conspired to abduct and stage the ‘encounter’ of three youths who had been reported missing by their families based in Rajouri.
The accused allegedly planted illegally acquired weapons and material on the dead bodies of the three youths — Ibrar Ahmed (16), Imtiyaz Ahmed (25), and Ibrar Ahmed (20) — to tag them as terrorists. These were youth who had dreams of a better future.
Reportedly, the youth were transported in a vehicle arranged beforehand and then made to walk towards a brick structure located in an apple orchard where they were eventually shot dead, the charge sheet filed by investigators has revealed.
Imtiyaz Ahmad, 21, wanted to continue his studies after clearing his class 12 exam but did not have enough money to do so. With not much work available in the remote mountainous region of Rajouri, he had left for Shopian in Kashmir Valley to work as a laborer to earn enough money to secure admission to a college back home. But alas, Ahmad did not live to see his dream of becoming the first person in his family to have a college degree come true. The two other men- Abrar Ahmad, 26 and Mohammad Ibrar, 18 -were Imtiyaz Ahmad’s cousins.
The Army initially said the three were “terrorists”. It then provided details of the operation which indicated something was amiss as statements about joint operations in the Valley do not generally specify the chronology of security forces’ participation. The Army later said in September an inquiry has prima facie brought out evidence indicating “during the operation [in which the three were killed], powers vested under the AFSPA [Armed Forces Special Powers Act] 1990 were exceeded and the dos and don’ts of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court have been contravened”. The army added consequently, the “competent disciplinary authority has directed initiation of disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima-facie answerable”. The Jammu & Kashmir police last week said the DNA samples of the three have matched with their family members in Rajouri as reported by ThePrint.
“My son, who had passed class 12th this year, wanted to pursue his studies and had gone to Shopian to work as a laborer and collect enough money to get admission to the Rajouri Degree College,” said Ahmad’s mother, Shamim Akhter, 40, over the phone to The Hindustan Times from her Dhar Sakiri village in Rajouri. She added she wants justice. “Those who killed my son and nephews [Abrar Ahmed and Mohammad Ibrar] should also meet the same fate. The barbarians did not allow them to have food and picked them up from their rented room…before killing them…” Akhter said the whole truth about their killing should be made public and the perpetrators should be hanged.
Two men believed to be informers of security forces were arrested in connection with the staged gunbattle on Wednesday. The families of the youth who were killed have received no compensation yet. Rajouri deputy commissioner Mohammad Nazir Sheikh said he has received no instructions for the compensation yet either. “Nothing has come to us as of now but whatever under rules is required shall be done.”
However, since the conspiracy has come to light and the innocence of the slain have been proved the FIR against the slain youths, where they were charged under the Unlawful Prevention Activities Act (UAPA) and Arms Act, have been dropped. However, that gesture hardly means anything as that will not bring back the youth who had a life full of potential ahead of them, nor dry the tears of the family whose hopes and aspirations rested upon their shoulders.