In a “counter-FIR”, the Army detailed how four of its vehicle in the administrative convoy, were surrounded and attacked by the violent mob.
Amid continuing unrest in Kashmir following the death of three civilian in Army firing in Shopian district of the valley, the Indian Army on Wednesday stated that the security forces had only opened “controlled fire in self defence”.
The Army further asserted that before opening fire at civilians, security personnel have issued several warnings to the violent mob of stone pelters who attacked the Army convoy at Shopian of South Kashmir.
Northern Command chief Lt-General Devraj Anbu said, “We have done our internal inquiry. The soldiers responded after being provoked to the ultimate. It was an act in self-defense and to protect government property.”
“A generic FIR should have been filed by the police… I think they have prematurely put the name of an individual (Major Aditya) in it. The FIR is an initial step and the investigation is yet to commence,” added Lt-General Anbu.
Earlier on Sunday, in a “counter-FIR”, the Army detailed how four of its vehicle, detached from the other 16 in the administrative convoy, were surrounded and attacked by the angry mob. The “counter-FIR” from the Army came in response to the FIR lodged against a Major and other personnel from the 10 Garhwal Rifles battalion.
The FIR, which also names Major Aditya of the 10 Garhwal Rifles battalion, was lodged by the J&K police under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 336 (endangering life) after two youths were killed in Army firing in Gunowpora village of Shopian district last week.
Claiming that Major Aditya, who was leading the administrative convoy, was at distance from the site of firing, an official of the Army said, “He was with the 16 other vehicles that were separated from the four vehicles surrounded by the over 200 stone-throwing protesters.”
Further stating that a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) fell unconscious after being hit on the head, while trying to reason with the protestors, the officer said, “The mob even tried to lynch the JCO and snatch his weapon, and extensively damaged the vehicles despite warnings. Given the extreme gravity of the situation, the soldiers had no recourse but to open fire.”
“It was a desperate situation. The usual norm is to fire below the waist… but the civilians who got hit above the waist could have been bending down to pick up stones,” he added.
Meanwhile, the alliance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir is in a state of turmoil, after the state’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asserted in the Legislative Assembly that the FIR registered against the army personnel for killing civilians in Shopian district of the valley would be taken to a logical conclusion.
Hitting out at the PDP government, BJP legislators on Tuesday demanded the withdrawal of the FIR against security forces; instead claimed that a case should be registered against the youths, who pelted stone at the army convoy.