By Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, December 28 (Reuters) – Indian police in Kashmir have laid charges against an army officer and a civilian for allegedly killing three workers and laying down weapons to pass them off as militants, in a rare act of accusation of the army fighting an insurgency in the region.
The three workers were killed in July after what the Indian military initially said was a shootout that began after militants fired at security forces in the village of Amshipora in southern Kashmir.
But the Kashmiri police, which come under direct control of the central government in New Delhi, said in a press release on Sunday that their investigation showed the workers “were murdered” by an army captain and two civilians. – one of which revealed state evidence.
“They laid arms and illegally acquired equipment on their corpses after stripping them of their identities,” police said, adding that the defendants “deliberately and deliberately” chose not to follow standard operating procedures.
The Indian military declined to comment on the police statement on Sunday.
In an update last week, an army spokesperson said he was making progress with his own investigation, adding that the military was “committed to ethical conduct of operations.”
Rights groups have long accused the Indian military of violating human rights in Kashmir, a predominantly Muslim region claimed in full by India and Pakistan, but partly ruled by both. The Indian military denies the charges.
Indian security forces have killed more than 200 militants in Kashmir this year, officials said, many of whom were from groups allegedly backed by Pakistan. Islamabad denies providing material support to militants in Kashmir.
A month after the Amshipora incident, Kashmiri police were made aware of the missing reports of three workers who had left the neighboring district of Rajouri in July.
Police said they confirmed the identity of the victims by matching their DNA with samples taken from their families in Rajouri.
On Saturday, police filed a 1,400-page complaint against the army officer and one of the civilians.
A court in Kashmir has also asked military authorities whether the captain will be tried by a civilian court or by a military court martial, the police statement said. (Writing by Abhirup Roy and Devjyot Ghoshal; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)