In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference has demanded a stern action against former Indian Army’s Rashtriya Rifles sector commander Brigadier Ajay Kotach and all other Indian army officers and soldiers involved in the killing of innocent Kashmiri youth in staged encounters.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders while reacting to the award of life imprisonment to the Indian Army’s Captain Bhopendra Singh for being found guilty of killing three labourers named Abrar, Ibrar and Imtiyaz in a fake encounter in Amshipora area of Shopian on 18 July 2020 said that Brigadier Ajay Kotach was equally responsible for the gruesome massacre. It is worth mentioning here that immediately after the martyrdom of the youth, Brigadier Ajay Kotach addressing a press conference in Srinagar had claimed that the youth were killed in an encounter and arms and ammunition were recovered from their possession. Not only this, but later, in January 2021, Brigadier Ajay Kotach was awarded with Yudh Seva Medal in what claimed to be in recognition of his meritorious services against Kashmiri militants .
The APHC leaders said, now that it has been established after completion of court martial proceedings against Captain Bhopendra Singh that the youth were innocent and were killed in the staged encounter for the meager amount of INR 2.0 million bounty, commander Brigadier Ajay Kotach and all other such characters should also be accorded due punishment. The leaders said, the incident proves that majority of the Kashmiri youth killed by Indian troops in so-called encounters crossfires are actually victims of such stage-managed encounters.
In retrospect, immediately after the killing, it was found that the all three youth were bare handed and not linked with any of the militant organizations.
Gradually, the local media reporters and human rights organizations also picked up courage and raised the issue besides tracking their families at Rajouri who confirmed that all three martyred youth were cousins identified as Abrar, Ibrar and Imtiyaz, who went two days before the unfortunate incident to Shopian for earning their livelihoods.
In the face of mounting pressure from international human rights organizations from home and abroad, Indian Army was forced to contact the bereaved families at Rajouri and assured them of “an impartial” trial.
During the inquiry, it was established that Captain Bhopendra Singh of Indian Army’s 6 Rashtriya Rifles abducted the three youth from lodging, took them to a shed, executed encounter and agreed to equally distribute the amount of bounty which was INR 2.0 millions.—KMS