“We demand DNA results to be out soon or whole village will protest,” say families of 3 Rajouri youth killed in alleged ‘fake encounter’ in Shopian

Shameem Akhtar, mother holds Imtiaz's childhood picture

By Ayushi Malik, TwoCircles.net 

Rajouri: It has been three weeks since the DNA samples of the families of three missing labourers from Rajouri were taken by police authorities to investigate the allegation that the missing labourers were killed in a ‘staged encounter’ in Shopian.

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The family claims that the process of filling out the forms and other formalities was held again on 3 September and the results, already delayed, has been slowed down further.

Naseeb Bokari, a cousin of one of the missing labourer Abrar, told TwoCircles.net over the phone that the authorities told them the process will be completed within the next 10 days. “They came again yesterday to fill the same forms. Earlier in Urdu, now in English,” he said.

On 2 September, Mohd Saleem, another cousin of Abrar was assured by the authorities that the DNA result will come in the next three days. “They said that new forms are to be filled as the previous ones won’t work in Chandigarh now. The team came again yesterday and informed that the DNA result will take more days.”

According to family members, a team of officials had collected the DNA samples of the family members of the trio on August 13 to match them with the bodies of alleged ‘unidentified militants” killed in a gunfight on July 18 in Shopian.

The families were told that the process of DNA matching will take a week, however, nearly a month later the family’s long wait for the bodies of their kin isn’t over.

The 3 Rajouri youth namely Abrar Ahmed, Mohd Abrar and Imtiaz Ahmed had gone to Shopian district in Kashmir for labour work and went missing from their rented room in Shopian from July 17. The families filed a missing complaint on 9 August and identified their kin from a photograph doing rounds on social media of ‘alleged militants’ killed in a gunfight in Shopian on July 18.

Mohd Yousaf, the 50-year-old father of Abrar Ahmed, demands the bodies to be returned to the families.

Despite the delay in the process of DNA matching, he is assured that the authorities will return the bodies of their kin.

Talking to TwoCircles.net on phone he informed that a team had once again visited them on 3 September to fill out some forms again but his restlessness to see his son Abrar is evident in his voice. “26 din ho gaye hue hain DNA liye hue, Dekh lete hain kya hota hai. DNA ka kya matlab tha 20-22 din tak. Bache mere hain who mujhe pata hai, koi 6 mahine ki baat thori hai (It’s been 26 days that the authorities collected our blood samples but why is it taking so long when I am certain that they (the missing trio) are our kids?”)

He was told that the samples have been sent to Central Laboratory and the results will come back soon. “Umeed to mujhe poori hai ki administration meri poori madad kar rahi hai aur aage bhi karegi kyuki iski guarantee hai ki yeh bache innocent hain (I fully trust the administration in helping us get justice for our sons because I know that my kids are innocent)”, Yousaf added.

Yousaf claimed that the authorities have reassured them that the samples have reached Chandigarh and the results will come soon and refuse to share any other information with them.

Naseem Bokari in conversation with TwoCircles.net expressed his disappointment over the delay and asked, “Inta late kyu ho raha hai? Jaldi se jaldi aye report nahi to hum sab protest karenge (Why are the results delayed so much? If the report doesn’t come in few more days we will protest against the delay.)”

“We demand the DNA result be produced soon and once it is out,” he said.

Humein yeh sabboot de dijiye ki yeh militant the ya nahi. Filhal humein bas DNA report chaiye nahi to poora gaon aur Sarpanch sab protest krenge. Humein clear hona chaiye ki bache militant the ya nahi. Aur agar nahi the to inhe kyu mara? (We demand for the DNA results to be out soon or our whole village will protest including the Sarpanch and we are asking for evidence if our kids were militants or not. And if it is proved that they were not, why were they killed?)” he asks.

The families are demanding the dead bodies of their sons identified through photographs of ‘unidentified militants’ killed in the encounter.

Pertinently, the bodies have been buried in Baramulla as per police’s protocol of burying militants away from their hometowns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jammu and Kashmir police officials are silent on the investigation process and refused to comment on the delay of the DNA matching process. When TwoCircles.net approached the officials, there was no response. “We don’t have any knowledge of the case, the matter is still under investigation,” said one of the officials on phone with TwoCircles.net.