Govt U-Turn On Last Month’s Shopian Killings  


New Delhi—In a u-turn from public posturing, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday apprised the Supreme Court that Major Aditya Kumar’s name was not there in the accused column of the FIR filed against Army personnel in Shopian firing.

The apex court also stayed the investigation into the Shopian firing, and said that no probe would be initiated against Major Aditya till the next date of hearing on April 24.

The top court was hearing the plea of Lt Col (retd) Karamveer Singh seeking to quash the FIR against his son Major Aditya.

The J&K government in its status report submitted to the court said the Army officer had not been named when the police lodged an FIR to investigate the firing incident, rendering the cause for Singh’s petition moot.

“Major Aditya is an Army officer and cannot be treated like ordinary criminals by the J&K police,” a three-judge bench said.

The court also said that even though the FIR does not name Major Aditya as an accused, he could be roped in at any time as his name is mentioned in the narrative of the FIR.

In February, the top court had restricted the Mehbooba Mufti-led government from taking any “coercive steps” against Army officers, including Major Aditya Kumar, in the case.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, had asked Lt Col Singh’s counsel to share the copies of his petition with the office of attorney general KK Venugopal and the J&K government.

In his plea, Singh stated his son, a Major in 10 Garhwal Rifles, was “wrongly and arbitrarily” named in the FIR. He said the incident relates to an Army convoy that was on bona fide military duty in an area under the AFSPA and was isolated by an “unruly and deranged” mob pelting stones, causing damage to military vehicles.

Two civilians were killed when Army personnel fired at a stone-pelting protesters in Ganovpora village in Shopian, prompting the chief minister to order an inquiry into the incident.

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