Shopian firing: SC restrains cops from taking ‘coercive steps’ against Army officers

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that no coercive step will be taken against Army officers including Major Aditya Kumar, accused of allegedly killing three civilians in the Shopian firing incident in south Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir police had in an FIR named Army personnel including Major Aditya Kumar for allegedly killing three civilians in firing to disperse a stone-pelting mob in Shopian district on January 27.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed that no coercive action would be taken against the Army officials. The bench also sought the response from the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir’s Mehbooba Mufti government.

The FIR was registered under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code, a criminal code applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.

The father of the accused Major Kumar, Lt. Col. Karamveer Singh, moved the apex court seeking quashing of the FIR. The top court had on February 9 agreed to hear the plea.

Karamveer Singh said that registration of FIR and the consequent proceedings would adversely impact the morale of the armed forces fighting militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

The father said in his plea that his son’s intention was to save Army personnel and property and the fire was inflicted “only to impair and provide a safe escape from a savage and violent mob engaged in terrorist activity”.

“The manner in which the lodging of the FIR has been portrayed and projected by the political leadership and administrative higher-ups of the state, reflects the extremely hostile atmosphere in the state,” the petition said.

“In these circumstances, the petitioner is left with no other viable option but to approach this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India for protection of valuable Fundamental Rights of his son and himself, enshrined under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,” the plea said.

It said that Major Aditya Kumar was wrongly and arbitrarily named as the incident relates to an Army convoy on bonafide military duty in an area under AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act), which was isolated by an “unruly and deranged” stone-pelting mob.

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