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World

Indian army officer accused of planting weapons on Kashmiri civilians charged with murder

  • On Sunday, Indian police accused an army officer and two associates of planting weapons on the bodies of labourers killed in Kashmir.
  • This controversial gunfight sparked rare investigations by the Indian Army, which has more than half-a-million troops in Kashmir, and the police; after the supposed firefight violated the rules of engagement.
Published December 28, 2020

SRINAGAR: On Sunday, Indian police accused an army officer and two associates of planting weapons on the bodies of labourers killed in Kashmir, to give the impression as though they were armed militants in a staged gunfight.

The army had claimed that three men were killed in an alleged gunfight in the village of Amshipora in Southern Kashmir, after which they were hurriedly buried in a remote border area.

The families of the deceased, located in the remote mountainous areas of Rajouri, mentioned that the three men were only looking for work in Kashmir's apple orchards.

This controversial (alleged) gunfight sparked rare investigations by the Indian Army, which has more than half-a-million troops in Kashmir, and the police; after the supposed firefight violated the rules of engagement.

Following the investigation, the police released a statement on Sunday, mentioning that an officer and two others "planted illegally acquired weapons and material on their dead bodies after stripping them of their identities and tagged them as hardcore terrorists in possession of war-like stores", adding that the evidence has been recorded and "action would follow".

According to the police, Captain Bhoopendra Singh has been charged with murder, conspiracy and other offences, having been placed in military detention - while questions have been raised as to whether the perpetrators should be charged under a civilian court.

Under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, an emergency law in place in Kashmir since 1990 to counter a local insurgency, government forces deployed in the region cannot be tried in a civilian court, without the approval of the New Delhi government.

No such permission has been granted since the last three decades, despite dozens of requests by the police after investigations into actions by the security forces.

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