Two held for three Kashmir killings in fake gun battle

Srinagar, May 28 (IANS) Two people were arrested for the disappearance of three men in the Kashmir Valley, who were allegedly killed in a fake gunfight near the border with Pakistan. The bodies of victims were Friday exhumed and identified by their relatives.

A police officer said Bashir Ahmad, a former special police officer, and his accomplice Fayaz Ahmad were arrested for the disappearance of Shahzad Ahmad, Riyaz Ahmad and Muhammad Shafi from Nadihal village in Sopore district last month.

Locals and relatives of the three have alleged that the pair of the SPOs abducted them from their homes April 29.

A magisterial probe has been ordered by the government to ascertain the fate of the three after it was alleged that they were murdered in a staged shootout in Machil sector of the Line of Control (LoC) the next day.

The LoC divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

The bodies were exhumed from Kalaroos graveyard on Kupwara district magistrate’s order.

‘Relatives of Shahzad Ahmad Khan, son of Ghulam Muhammad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone, son of Muhammad Yusuf Lone, and Muhammad Shafi Lone, son of Abdul Rashid Lone, from Nadihal village have identified the exhumed bodies today (Friday) in presence of a magistrate,’ a senior police officer told IANS.

‘After identification of the exhumed bodies, these were handed over to their relatives for burial,’ he said.

Ghulam Muhammad Khan, father of Shahzad, told reporters late Thursday: ‘They killed my son for medals and rewards. My son had no connection with militants.’

The army claimed to have killed three terrorists in Machil sector of the LOC after foiling an infiltration bid April 30.

It was also claimed that a large quantity of arms and ammunition had been recovered from the slain terrorists.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah conveyed his serious concern to Lt. Gen. N.C. Marwah, commander of the army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps over the development.

According to an official statement here, Lt. Gen. Marwah informed the chief minister that the army’s Northern Command in Udhampur had already ordered a high level inquiry into the incident.

Javaid Ahmad Dar, the state’s junior minister for health, said: ‘The guilty would be given exemplary punishment if the allegations are proved right.’