Shopian killings a ‘setback’, says interlocutor Sharma

New Delhi: Dineshwar Sharma, Government of India’s Kashmir interlocutor, has said that the recent civilian killings in Shopian are a ‘setback’ and added that the Army should not resort to disproportionate firing.

In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Sharma said, “Civilian killings must stop. The security forces must show restraint and not resort to disproportionate firing,’’ Sharma, former chief of the Intelligence Bureau said.

He stressed that district Shopian is more ‘angry and alienated’ than other districts of Kashmir.

“I was hoping for a better summer but violence has come as a setback. Amongst the districts in south Kashmir, Shopian is particularly alienated and angry. We must be sensitive while dealing with the people of Kashmir,’’ he added.

Sharma also informed that he would visit the district again to ‘engage with the youth’.

“I will visit Shopian again,’’ he said, adding, “I feel very sad when I see Kashmir in trouble.’’

Sharma was appointed as a special representative by the Government of India on October 23 to hold a sustained dialogue with all stakeholders, and has made several visits to Jammu and Kashmir, including one in late February to Shopian, where three civilians were murdered by the Army on January 27 during a protest, and four were shot dead along with two militants on March 4.

After his maiden visit, Sharma had recommended that amnesty should be given to first time stone pelters and after a a few days Mehbooba Mufti announced the same.

However the Army questioned the move.


“The cases were withdrawn as a goodwill gesture but what goodwill are they showing? The stone pelting continues,” army chief General Bipin Rawat said on February 23.

The Army and the State Government once again stood against each other when Major Aditiya, who was named in an FIR registered by the police after three civilians were murdered by the unit he was leading in Ganawpora area of Shopian.  Mehbooba Mufti announced a magisterial probe into the matter.

The Army however said that they fired in ‘self defence’ after they were provoked to the ‘ultimate’ by a stone throwing crowd.

The Supreme Court however, halted the probe into the matter while saying that “He (Major Aditya Kumar) is an army officer, not a criminal.’’

The Jammu and Kashmir government had also informed the apex court that the Major has not been named in the FIR.

Last week too, after four civilians were killed in a firing incident, the Army called the ‘Over Ground Workers’ however Mehbooba said that she was deeply distressed by more civilian killings. The chief minister tweeted her condolences to the families of the people who were ‘caught in cross fire’.


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