The Indian army admitted that its security forces exceeded powers under the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the killing of three local civilians in Amshipora village of Shopian earlier this year. These innocent Kashmiri youth: Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed and Mohammad Ibrar, hailed from Rajouri and travelled to Shopian to work as laborers to support their families. Targeted as unidentified “terrorists”, they were killed by Indian armed forces on 18th July, 2020.
“Salt on the wounds of these innocent families is that security forces involved in fake encounters will be excused under AFSPA,” states Dr Abdul Jabbar, team lead for Free Kashmir Action at Justice For All. “This law grants “powers” to members of the armed forces in “disturbed areas” like Kashmir to shoot-to-kill or arrest suspected people at will. These powers are abused and security forces are rewarded with medals and monetary benefits instead of being held accountable for murder,” he added. This is not a new occurrence, in another similar incident which took place in May 2010, large scale protests erupted in Kashmir after a police investigation revealed the army killed three civilians in a staged gun battle at Machil area near the Line of Control in the frontier Kupwara district.
The three laborers were lured to Machil and killed there before being labelled “militants” by the army to claim a reward. Historically, the Indian security forces have complete impunity, they cannot be prosecuted and punished.