The case involving Indian Army in the Shopian case is becoming mysterious with Jammu and Kashmir Government telling Supreme Court that Major Aditya Kumar was not named as an accused in the FIR. The firing incident on January 27, has resulted in the death of three stone pelters, whom the ruling PDP and Kashmir mainstream is describing as civilians. Ironically, for them, these stone pelters are also ‘misguided’ and ‘innocent’. If the police has not filed FIR against Major Aditya, how come the Supreme Court admitted the petition, filed by his father, pleading, “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 and his personnel who were doing lawful military duty. Why the stone pelters were not booked? For dereliction of duties, the action should have been initiated against the concerned SHO. The petition by Lt Colonel Karamveer Singh, father of Major Aditya also read, “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.” Will the Jammu and Kashmir Government state as to what made Lt Col Singh to approach the apex court, as also the Centre to protect the rights of soldiers posted in Jammu and Kashmir? The day after the registration of the FIR, STATE TIMES carried its specimen, which mentioned about Major Aditya. Has that FIR been replaced and, if so, on which basis the father of the Major took up the matter in the Supreme Court, which also listed it for the hearing?
How will the Jammu and Kashmir Government respond to Supreme Court observations, asking the police not to go ahead with proceedings? The court made a vital observation, saying the case involved an army officer and not an ordinary criminal. Which officer the Supreme Court was mentioning, if the contention of the State Government holds good with regard to Maj Aditya now? The case is full of contradictions as the counsel of the Jammu and Kashmir Government retorted back, “This does not mean he has the licence to kill”.
Who is this “he”? Obviously Maj Aditya.
During the course of judicial dispensation, the Supreme Court stated on February 12, “No action can be taken for now against the army Major accused in the killing of three civilians in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian last month…There will be “no coercive action” against Major Aditya Kumar.” Even a legally naïve person can also make out that the highest court of the country could not have passed these directions, unless Major Aditya was not figuring in the FIR.
The Shopian case is unfolding more questions with each passing day than offering any answers. Just three days after filing the case, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had vowed that the case will be taken to a logical conclusion. Obviously she was referring to the FIR registered against the personnel of 10, Garhwal unit, of the Army under Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code. A Major, who led the Army personnel at the time of the incident on Saturday, was also mentioned in the FIR, officials had said.
And, if Major Aditya had not been named in the FIR, what for the BJP leaders created hysteria in Jammu, demanding withdrawal of FIR against the army and the officer? Why should have the army lodged a counter FIR which the Kashmir Police described as the army version?
These are the questions that keep haunting the public mind. And, even despite these facts the Jammu and Kashmir Government tends to behave like an ostrich then time has come for it to have some sort of introspection. The people can be fooled once but not always. (To be continued)
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper