SC stays J&K probe into Army firing, deaths in Shopian

07 March, 2018, 11:47 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
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Observing that Major Aditya "is an army officer and not an ordinary criminal", the top court directed the J&K government to carry out no further investigation in the case till April 24, when the final hearing would take place in the Supreme Court.

The bench not convinced by the J&K claim said, 'As per narration in the FIR, it is stated that Major Aditya Kumar was leading the convoy which resorted to firing after coming under heavy stone-pelting and arson by the mob.

Senior lawyer Shekhar Naphade, representing the Jammu and Kashmir government, started by saying that Major Aditya has not been named as an accused in the FIR "till date".

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Significantly, this comes two days after the Supreme Court stayed a probe by the Jammu and Kashmir government into the January 27 Shopian firing incident ignoring the state's request to allow it to probe the FIR lodged against the Army over the incident.

Three civilians were killed when Army personnel fired at a stone-pelting mob in Ganovpora village of Shopian on January 27 this year, prompting the chief minister to order an inquiry into the incident.

The court's comments provoked Naphade to say, "The Army has not been responding to several letters written by the state (on the Shopian FIR) as if they are above the law".

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The bench was headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. "It depends on the investigation", the state government said, according to NDTV.

The armed forces are protected by the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990, which gives them legal cover.Police had charged Major Kumar and his 10 Garhwal Rifles unit with murder, attempt to murder, and endangering the lives of civilians in Shopian district.

In the last hearing of the matter on February 12, the court had restrained Jammu and Kashmir Police from taking any coercive action against Major Kumar. He has just been named on the basis of allegations that he led the convoy which opened fire in retaliation. J&K police had registered the FIR against Major Aditya Kumar under section 307 of the Ranvir Penal Code (RPC) for his alleged involvement in the Shopian firing incident case in the state. When the court asked whether this means Kumar will not be named as an accused in the case, the state government said it could not commit either way. The bench said, "He is an army officer, not an ordinary criminal. Is there a licence to kill for the Army?"

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