J&K Police file murder case over death of three men detained by Army

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Northern Command chief Lt. Gen. Upendra Dwivedi pays his last respects to four Army personnel killed in a militant attack during a wreath laying ceremony in Rajouri on December 24, 2023.

Northern Command chief Lt. Gen. Upendra Dwivedi pays his last respects to four Army personnel killed in a militant attack during a wreath laying ceremony in Rajouri on December 24, 2023.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Sunday registered a murder case against unidentified persons after three men picked up by the Army for questioning were found dead with multiple injuries on December 22. Eight men were detained following the ambush on an Army convoy on December 21 in Poonch-Rajouri area where four soldiers were killed and three others were injured. The terrorists involved in the ambush are yet to be identified or arrested. 

The First Information Report has been filed at Surankote police station in Poonch under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a government source said. The case was registered after a high-level intervention from Delhi following release of a 29-second video showing some persons, purportedly Army jawans, stripping the three men and sprinkling chilly powder on them. The clip was circulated on social media. The video was said to have been shot at the Army’s camp.

Five locals have been admitted with serious injuries in a hospital. All belong to the tribal Gujjar Bakkarwal community.

Army releases names of slain soldiers

Meanwhile, four days after the ambush at Dera ki Gali in Thanamandi area, the Army on Sunday released the names of the four soldiers killed in the terrorist attack. 

The deceased soldiers have been identified as Naik Birender Singh from Chamoli, Uttarakhand; Rifleman Gautam Kumar from Pauri Gharwal, Uttarakhand; Naik Karan Kumar from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh; and Rifleman Chandan Kumar from Nawada, Bihar.

The wreath-laying ceremony was held in Rajouri on Sunday and the bodies will be flown to their homes, an Army official said without providing details about the delay in handing over the bodies to the relatives. As reported, bodies of three of the four soldiers were decapitated. It is learnt that the families of the soldiers were called to Rajouri to identify the bodies, which were mutilated beyond recognition, and they were requested to hold the last rites there. After the families refused to cremate the bodies in Rajouri, arrangements were made to flow the bodies to their respective native places. 

The People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF), a proxy outfit of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed the attack and posted photos after the ambush on social media. On Sunday it released more photos, which included the pictures of four service weapons belonging to the deceased soldiers. It also released screenshots of old posts on X (formerly Twitter) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi questioning the government for not taking strong action against the terrorists.

A May 2, 2013 post on X by Mr. Modi that was circulated by PAFF on social media app Telegram said, “Centre is unable to give a strong answer to Pakistan’s inhuman acts. Beheading of our soldiers & now Sarabjit’s death are 2 recent examples.”

Lieutenant-General Upendra Dwivedi visited the Poonch sector in wake of the killings. “Army Commander’s presence in #Poonch sector reinforces #IndianArmy’s commitment for operational excellence. He was briefed by the Commanders on the ongoing operations. He exhorted the formations to maintain highest professional standards and be prepared to meet the dynamic challenges,” the Army posted on X.

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