Hope Poonch probe into civilian death delivers justice: Mehbooba

Srinagar,  Former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Friday expressed hope that a probe ordered into the killing of three young men from Poonch in an alleged Army interrogation in December last year will “deliver justice and a sense of closure to the grieving families”.

She was reacting to a media report that suggested that the Army’s internal inquiries into the killing of three civilians in December 2023 has found “serious lapses” in the “conduct” of seven to eight personnel, including officers, at various levels.

On December 21 last year, four soldiers were killed in a deadly ambush in the Bufliaz area of Surankote in Poonch. Within hours of the ambush three civilians — Safeer Ahmed, Mohammad Showkat Ali and Shabir Ahmad, who were picked up along with other men for questioning by the Army were found dead the next day.

After a massive outcry, the Army ordered inquiries into the deaths and also moved out Brigade Commander and the Commanding Officer in an unprecedented decision.

Mufti said no action followed in previous inquiries where the culpability of armed personnel was confirmed.

“We have witnessed how enquiries & probes into fake encounters have always confirmed the culpability of armed personnel guilty in such cases.

“Unfortunately be it Pathribal, Machil or Shopian fake encounters no action followed any of the enquiries. Those responsible for the cold blooded murder of innocent civilians got away scot free,” Mufti said in a post on X.

“One can only hope that the recent probe ordered into the tragic killing of three young men from Buffliaz delivers justice & a sense of closure to the grieving families. Only time will tell. Having said that ordering a probe is a step towards that direction,” she added.