The Indian Army has initiated proceedings for disciplinary action against some of its personnel after its internal inquiry found "prima facie" evidence that they misused the powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) during an encounter in Kashmir's Shopian district in which three men were killed this year in July.
Army Chief General M M Naravane while assuring a fair investigation into the matter, said the force had zero tolerance for such violations, News18 reported.
"The investigations will be conducted with the utmost fairness and will be taken to their logical conclusion. The Indian Army has zero tolerance for violation of established guidelines while operating in disturbed areas," he said," the Army Chief was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The Army officials had claimed on 18 July that three terrorists had been gunned down in Amshipura village in the higher reaches of south Kashmir's Shopian district. However, several social media reports had alleged it to be a staged encounter, after which the families of the men had also filed a police complaint.
The men were identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad, Abrar Ahmad, and Mohammad Ibrar from Rajouri district and worked in Amshipura as labourers.
Police had lodged a complaint on behalf of the relatives and collected samples for DNA matching with the slain persons.
Even as the DNA reports are yet to come, the Army’s internal inquiry, whose findings were made public on Friday, said, "The inquiry has brought out certain prima facie evidence indicating that during the operation, powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act were exceeded and the Do’s and Don’ts of the Chief of Army Staff as approved by the Supreme Court have been contravened."
The preliminary inquiry has directed the competent disciplinary authority to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima facie answerable.
The inquiry report also held that the alleged involvement of the three persons in terrorism or related activities is under investigation by police.
The report reiterated that the Indian Army is committed to the ethical conduct of operations.
(With inputs from IANS)
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