Outrage as Army men booked for ‘murder’ for firing in self-defence

The registration of an FIR against an Army unit in connection with Saturday’s incident in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district has triggered outrage. Army personnel had opened fire on coming under attack from a stone-pelting mob in Shopian on Saturday. Two civilians were killed in the firing.

While state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has ordered an inquiry into the incident, the J&K Police have registered an FIR under Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Jammu and Kashmir State Ranbir Penal Code.

The personnel who had come under attack belonged to the 10, Garhwal unit of the Army. A Major, who led the Army personnel at the time of the incident, has also been mentioned in the FIR.

The question that is being asked is: how can firing in ‘self-defence’ be termed as murder? Is there a witch-hunt against the Army in J&K?

Meanwhile, state police chief S P Vaid today said registration of FIR in the Shopian incident is just the beginning of the investigation and the Army’s version would be taken into account as well.

CM Mufti today said it was her government’s duty to take the investigation in the Shopian incident to a logical conclusion.

She defended her government’s move to file an FIR against the Army personnel, saying she did not believe the action would have a demoralising effect on the force.

She, however, termed the incident a “setback” to the political process. She has already spoken about the incident to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Mufti made the remarks in the state Assembly which saw repeated interruptions by the opposition, which moved an adjournment motion over the killing of two civilians.

Mufti said if somebody commits a mistake, he should be punished as such a course only brings laurels to the institution. “If some Army officer has committed a mistake, an FIR has been lodged and it is the duty of the government to take it to a logical conclusion,” Mufti said.

Mufti said two militants and a civilian were killed in an encounter on January 24. “The police had asked the Army to not pass through the village as one of the militants killed in the encounter was its resident. The Army, because of some compulsion, took the route but their vehicles came under stone pelting resulting in the killing of two civilians in the firing,” she told the Assembly.

“We are asking the Army and other security forces to maintain utmost restraint but it is also a fact that unlike in the past when villages used to get deserted if there was an encounter, or even a fake encounter, now hundreds indulge in stone pelting on security forces when an encounter breaks out,” she added.

Source: Times now

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