The Indian Army on Tuesday said a high-level court inquiry is in progress in connection with the encounter on July 18 in Amshipora area of South Kashmir's Shopian district.
The families of the three youths killed in Amshipora had claimed they were innocent labourers allegedly gunned down in a fake encounter by the Army. According to their families, the three men had trekked from Rajouri to Shopian to find work apparently in apple orchards or construction.
Guftar Ahmad, a tribal leader fighting to seek justice for the families, has told News18 that one of them was a teenager studying in class 11.
The Army in a statement said as a high-level court of inquiry into Operation Amshipora is under progress. It added that statements of key witnesses are being recorded and progress is being monitored closely.
"Additional civil witnesses are being asked to depose before the Court of Inquiry. Concurrently, DNA samples have been collected from Rajouri under the aegis of JKP and sent for matching with the militants killed on July 18," said a Srinagar-based Army spokesperson, adding that the Indian Army is committed to ethical conduct of all counter-militant operations.
Cases where doubts are raised are investigated under due process as per the law of the land. Since the case is under investigation, further details will be shared periodically as appropriate without affecting due legal process, added the statement.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police have also launched an investigation. Last week, they sent a team to Rajouri to collect samples of the kin of the killed trio. The results of the DNA matching would be received in few days time, said sources.
The three cousins were killed in a secluded barn deep inside an orchard on July 18. Villagers in the area told News18 they had heard a few shots at 2.30am and later another volley of fire before the "gunfight" ended. The villagers were told to identify the bodies and they were unable to do that. Later, the bodies were buried at Baramulla but not before the samples of the slain were collected and preserved.