Srinagar: State Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to State Chief Secretary and Director General of Police seeking a detailed report about two incidents involving civilian killings in Shopian and the action taken thereafter.
The Commission issued the notice after petitioner Muhammad Ahsan Untoo who is also the chairman International Forum for Justice filed a petition accusing authorities as well as army of violating not only Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), but also the guidelines of Supreme Court of India.
The petitioner has alleged that Army has been violating the guidelines of Supreme Court. “As per Supreme Court guidelines, Army is supposed to inform local police and the Magistrate before launching any operation against militants, however, army doesn’t do so.”
Narrating the two incidents of Ganawpora and Pahnoo villages of South Kashmir’s Shopian district, the petitioner has said that army violated all the norms and indulged in civilian killings. The petitioner in his petition to the State Human Rights Commission has stated that Army had inputs about the movement of militants at Pahnoo village of Shopian but it gunned down civilians who were moving in a vehicle.
As per petitioner, after every killing, tall claims are being made to punish the killers but till date nobody has been punished even as government ‘saved’ Major Aditya Kumar, who was ‘responsible for the civilian killings at Ganowpora, Shopian.’
“In order to make the government as well as police administration accountable, I request the commission to seek details from the authorities about the civilian killings and the action take thereafter,” the petition reads.
Taking cognizance of the petition, Abdul Hamid Wani, the member of the Commission, issued a notice to Chief Secretary and the police chief directing them to submit report by April 2 before the Commission.
Last week, two militants and four civilians, who the army claimed were overground workers (OGWs) of militants were killed after the militants fired on a mobile vehicle check post (MVCP) of 54 Rashtriya Rifles.
However, the villagers refuted the army claim and said the four slain men were civilians.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that she was deeply distressed due to the civilian killings in Shopian. The chief minister tweeted her condolences to the families of the people who were ‘caught in cross fire’.
The various business communities of the valley also reacted to the killings. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a statement said that the incident, probably is a ‘fake encounter’. While the Kashmir Economic Alliance called it a ‘strategic genocide’.
The Jammat-e-Islami in it’s statement said that the incident proves that the Indian Army is immune from every legal and moral accountability. The Joint Resistance leadership has called for ‘Shopian Chalo’ on March 7. They have also called for a complete shutdown too.
In their statement, the JRL said that the ‘Indian trigger happy forces and police are deployed to kill Kashmiris and pro-India politicians and political parties especially RSS backed Mehbooba regime is deployed to provide a legal cover to these killers.’
Last month three civilian were murdered by the Army after a crowd threw stones at them. They had come to remove ‘black banners’ which the people didn’t allow.
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 Army however said that they fired in ‘self defence’ after they were provoked to the ‘ultimate’ by a stone throwing crowd.
The BJP, coalition partner of the ruling PDP had demanded that the FIR against the Army should withdrawn and a new one lodged without naming anyone. However, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that the investigation would be taken to its ‘logical end.’
A BJP leader Subramanian Swamy threatened Mehbooba Mufti to withdraw the FIR against the army otherwise her government would be toppled.
“What’s this nonsense? Dismiss that government. Tell Mehbooba (Mufti) to withdraw the FIR else her government would be toppled,” Swamy told ANI.
(With inputs from CNS)