RAJOURI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday met the families of three civilians, who were allegedly killed in custody a few hours after they were picked up by the security forces on December 22, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district.
He assured justice to the kin of the deceased and visited the Government Medical College (GMC) to enquire about the condition of four other “torture” victims.
Six people, two from the families of each deceased, had reached Rahouri around noon. Singh, accompanied by Army chief General Manoj Pande and Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, reached the town in the afternoon and met the families in Dak Bungalow. Several District Development Council (DDC) members, former legislators and civil society members were also present at the meeting.
“Whatever has happened…there will be justice,” Singh told the media after meeting the other victims in the GMC hospital.
Four Armymen were martyred and three others were injured after their vehicles were ambushed by terrorists at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Buffliaz in Poonch on December 21.
Following the attack, three civilians – Safeer Hussain (43), Mohd Showket (27) and Shabir Ahmad (32)- were allegedly picked up by the Army for questioning and were later found dead on December 22.
The video clips purportedly showing custodial torture of the civilians went viral on social media.
Four more people – Mohd Zulfkar, his brother Mohd Betab, Fazal Hussain and Mohd Farooq – were admitted in the GMC hospital on Friday after they were allegedly roughed up by the troops in Thanamandi area of Rajouri during the anti-terrorist operation. The search operation for terrorists is still underway in both Surankote and Thanamandi forest belt.
“The defence minister met the families of the civilians, civil society and assured action against the guilty after an inquiry into the incident,” news agency PTI quoted former MLC Shahnaz Ganai as saying.
Ganai, who was present in the meeting at Dak Bungalow, said that after the defence minister’s visit, they are hopeful that the victim’s kin will get justice .
“While condemning this incident, we also pay our tributes to our brave soldiers and express our condolences to their families. We the people of Rajouri-Poonch will not allow the inimical elements within or outside the country to take benefit of such type of incidents,” Ganai said.
Sohail Malik, DDC member, Surankote, said the defence minister assured action against all those responsible for the incident.