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Probe: Indian soldier killed 3 Kashmiri civilians in fake encounter to win reward

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Indian soldiers patrol a deserted street during restrictions in Srinagar, Kashmir, August 9, 2019. (File photo by Reuters)

A police investigation shows an Indian army soldier shot dead three unarmed civilians in Kashmir in July 2020 during a staged encounter in an attempt to win a reward from the government in New Delhi.

Police sources said on Monday that Captain Bhoopendra Singh, who was charged in December with conspiracy and murder over the killing of the three laborers, staged a gun battle hoping to be rewarded with two million rupees (USD 27,200).

Singh and two associates claimed the trio were armed, but a police investigation found he planted weapons on the men to make them look like militants, the sources added.

Indian forces are paid up to USD 27,000 by authorities for killing independence fighters.

Parvez Imroz, a leading human rights lawyer, has warned that the financial incentives have led to extrajudicial killing of innocent people across the Muslim-majority region over the past years.

“Legal impunity... combined with the policy of cash rewards is likely to continue to lead to staged gun battles in which innocent civilians are killed.”

In 2010, three Indian officers were found guilty by a court martial of killing three laborers who had been branded Pakistani infiltrators near the Line of Control (LoC) – the de-facto border that separates India and Pakistan. 

The episode triggered months of protests that left more than 100 civilians dead across the disputed valley.

Kashmir has been under an emergency military law since 1990 that gives soldiers power to shoot suspected ‘rebels.’ The law bars soldiers accused of crimes from being tried in civilian courts.

A disputed territory, Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947. The countries have fought three wars over the region. 


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