NEW DELHI: A prominent rights group in Jammu and Kashmir Wednesday asked the state government to order DNA tests on all the militants killed since November 17 in order to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of three men in Kupwara.

“DNA tests should be conducted on all those unidentified persons killed in encounters in Kashmir since November 17, the day when three civilians went missing from Kupwara. The samples should be matched with the DNAs of the families of the missing men,” Khurram Parvez, convener of J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), said.

The families of the three persons — Ghulam Jeelani Khatana, Mir Hussain Khatana and Ali Mohammad, all residents of Kupwara, said they are contemplating to approach the High Court in order to seek justice. "In the next week, we will move to High Court in this regard to seek justice for the families whose beloved ones are missing from more than a month,” Khurram said.

Addressing media near the JKCCS office on the banks of River Jehlum, Khurran accused the police of foiling the press conference at a local hotel in Srinagar where the families of three missing persons were going to make an appeal for justice, by threatening the hotel owner.

"DNA samples have been fudged in some important cases in Kashmir, so we demand that an international laboratory that cannot be influenced by Indian army or the Jammu and Kashmir Police should conduct the DNA test. The case should be investigated in a non-prejudicial manner and the information about their fate should be made public,” he said.

Flanked by the anguished family members, some of whom broke down in tears, Khurram said the information provided by the government and J&K Police indicates that something fishy has happened behind the scenes.

"Police have said the three persons are Army informers who have been sent to Pakistan to collect information. If they are indeed informers, then why did the police make it public. It would be the first time when they have revealed the identity of their informers,” he said.

Manzoor Ahmed Khawaja, a soldier of 160 Battalion of Territorial Army, at Hiri Camp, Trehgam who sits at the centre of the controversy, is presently under police custody. During the investigations, Khwaja reportedly told the police that the three men were taken in an Army jeep to Keran after which their fate remains unknown. Khurram said there are apprehension about the involvement of other officers of 160 Battalion, who should also be identified and arrested.

"The probe ordered by the Army is a mere eye-wash. It is not the first time when such a probe has been ordered. We have seen that by ordering such kind of probes, nothing new happened and no guilty was punished so far,” he said.

Taking a dig at the chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Parvez said the state government has failed to investigate the matter and are acting as mute spectators. “The silence of the chief minister shows his callousness. If the Prime Minister of India can be condemned for his silence on the Dadri lynching case, why are the stakeholders not demanding answers from Mufti Sayeed in this case? Is disappearance of these persons not an important issue,” he said.