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‘No cash award system’ — Army junks reports that said Shopian encounter staged for Rs 20 lakh

Srinagar-based Army spokesperson says reports are ‘misleading’ as the Army has no system of cash awards for its personnel for any acts in combat situations or in the line of duty. 

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Srinagar: The Indian Army Monday rebutted media reports that claimed the “staged” encounter in Shopian region’s Amshipora village in July last year was driven by a “cash reward”. 

The Srinagar-based spokesperson for the Indian Army said the forces have no system of cash awards for its personnel for any acts in combat situations or otherwise in the line of duty.

The statement came after media reports claimed that an Indian Army captain, who has been named as the accused in the police chargesheet filed in December in the alleged fake encounter case, carried out the “encounter” to get a cash reward of Rs 20 lakh. 

“There are media reports quoting that Amshipora encounter actions were driven by a Rs 20-lakh award for killing of terrorists. It is clarified that Indian Army has no system of cash awards for its personnel for any acts in combat situations or otherwise in the line of duty. The report is malafide (misleading) and not based on facts of the processes internal to Indian Army,” said the army official in a statement.

The J&K Police had filed the chargesheet against Army Captain Bhoopendra Singh, and another civilian for the staged encounter, while a second civilian allegedly involved in the incident had turned an approver and a principal witness.

A source in the police said the chargesheet did not establish the cash reward as a prime motive behind the staged encounter.

“The findings mention cash reward as a government policy under which money is awarded to individuals helping security forces to eliminate militants. It is possible the media personnel might have drawn conclusions by mixing up the findings,” the source said.

A police officer elaborated, “The militants are categorised based on their involvement in insurgency. Higher the category, more the cash reward. This reward is given as source fund by the DG police to district level SP who further distributes it among informers and constabulary involved in the encounter.”

“No gazetted officer is eligible for the cash reward. While 80 per cent of the reward is given to the informer, 20 per cent is given to constabulary upto inspector level. Any gazetted officer of the security forces having malafide intention can conspire with the source or informer to get part of the reward,” he added.

ThePrint reached Director General of J&K Police Dilbag Singh and Inspector General, Kashmir Division, Vijay Kumar though calls and messages for a comment, but there was no response till the publication of this report.


Also read: How an Army captain ‘staged’ killing of 3 Rajouri youth in controversial Shopian encounter


The chargesheet

In a statement issued after the filing of the chargesheet, the J&K Police had said Captain Singh of Rashtriya Rifles 62 battalion, Tabish Nazir Malik of Chowgam area in Shopian district, and Bilal Ahmed Lone from Pulwama, conspired to abduct and stage the “encounter” of three youths who had been reported missing by their families based in Rajouri. 

The accused allegedly planted illegally acquired weapons and material on the dead bodies of the three youths — Ibrar Ahmed (16), Imtiyaz Ahmed (25) and Ibrar Ahmed (20) — to tag them as terrorists. The three youths had travelled all the way from their homes to Shopian to find work in an apple orchard.  

The investigation found that it was the Army officer who allegedly misled the entire unit into believing that the three men housed in the orchard were militants. The J&K Police had said the youths’ bodies were stripped of their identities and the weapons were planted to designate them as “hardcore terrorists”.

The police also said Bilal Ahmed Lone had turned approver in the case and provided material evidence that helped the investigation.


Also read: Bodies of Rajouri youth killed in controversial Shopian encounter exhumed


 

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