Supreme Court To Hear Father Of Army Major Accused In Kashmir Civilian Deaths

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra posted the matter for hearing on February 12, after petitioner's advocate sought urgent hearing of the case

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Supreme Court To Hear Father Of Army Major Accused In Kashmir Civilian Deaths

The Army said that soldiers were outnumbered by the stone-throwing mob and had "acted in self-defence".


New Delhi:  A day after the father of the Army officer named in the case involving the deaths of three civilians in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian approached the Supreme Court challenging the First Information Report or FIR, the court has agreed to hear his plea on Monday. The petition by Lt Colonel Karamveer Singh, a serving officer of the Indian Army, says the FIR violates the fundamental rights of his son, Major Aditya Singh.

Major Singh and his unit have been named in the FIR in which they are accused of opening fire on a group of protesters. Three men lost their lives in the firing. The FIR was filed as the shooting on the protesters triggered uproar in the state prompting Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to take urgent action. She said the action was taken after consultations with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and pledged to take the case to "a logical end". 

The Army has called the police case against Major Singh premature, and said their own inquiry found that the soldiers were "provoked to the ultimate". The soldiers were vastly outnumbered by the stone-throwing mob and had "acted in self-defence". They opened fire only after the crowd continued to throw stones and refused to give way to them, the Army said.

Lt Colonel Singh's petition said the police cannot file cases against Army officers in Jammu and Kashmir, since AFSPA (the Armed Forces' Special Powers Act) is operating in the state. The law gives special powers to the Army in insurgency-hit areas. The police registered an FIR against the Major "knowing fully well that he was not present at the place of the incident and that the personnel so acting were doing lawful military duty," the petition read.

His petition also urged the centre to protect the rights of soldiers posted in Jammu and Kashmir.

"My son was doing his duty to protect the soldiers who were being stoned and about to be lynched... He carried out the orders of his superiors," it added.

He was compelled to approach the top court directly because of the "extremely hostile situation in Jammu and Kashmir", the petition said and requested that the investigation be carried out in another state with independent and unbiased authorities.

Around 30 Army trucks were heading to administrative duty when a few got separated and were trapped by protesters who hurled stones at them last month. The soldiers fired warning shots and then "opened fire" in a desperate situation, said Army sources. 
 


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