New Delhi: The Army on Wednesday said that they opened fire in Shopian due in self defence and ‘ultimate provocation’ by a ‘stone pelting’ crowd, ANI reported.
Two civilians were murdered and six others injured after Indian Army opened fire on protesters in Ganowpora hamlet of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on last week. Reports said that army personnel arrived at Ganowpora village to remove a banner. As the army tried to remove the banner, a group of youth pelted stones on them.
The army according to eyewitnesses retaliated with firing. Witnesses added that army fired upon youth directly resulting in the injuries of at least 11 persons. The police registered an FIR of Murder, Attempt to Murder.
Another youth was injured in the incident succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday taking the toll to three. Shopian is observing a complete shutdown against the killings from the past seven consecutive days.
While reacting to the lodging of the FIR against the forces, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Devraj Anbu said that it was ‘unfortunate’.
“The FIR is already lodged. Everything will come out in investigation now. Notwithstanding what the state government did, we had our own inquiry and are clear that we responded when we were provoked to the ultimate,” he said.
The BJP has strongly protested the FIR, while its coalition partner in J&K, the PDP, has strongly defended it. Anbu added that a “generic” FIR should have been lodged which didn’t name anyone.
The FIR was registered against two Army officers by the Jammu and Kashmir Police. The FIR was lodged under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code against the personnel of 10, Garhwal unit, of the Army. An Army Major, who led the Army personnel at the time of the incident, was also named in the FIR.
“That is an unfortunate thing. In such a case, a generic FIR should have been filed. I think they have prematurely put the name of an individual, I am sure when they investigate truth will come out,” he added.
A day after the incident, a defence spokesman in Srinagar said that the troops opened fire when a ‘mob tried to lynch a junior commissioned officer and snatch his service weapon.’
However, CM Mehbooba Mufti asserted that FIR filed against the Army would be taken to its “logical conclusion” . “The Army might be doing a wonderful job, but black sheep can be anywhere,” she said.
J&K’s BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta called the FIR “unfortunate and disgusting”. He said nothing should be done that demoralises the forces. And an FIR should instead be lodged against the stone-pelters.
Mufti said she did not believe the FIR would have a demoralising effect on the Army. “I do not accept that the Army gets demoralised by such actions. The Army is an institution and has done a wonderful job. But a black sheep can be anywhere … Among judges there can be black sheep, but we can’t paint everyone with the same brush,” Mufti said.