SC stays proceedings against Indian Army Major named in FIR over 3 civilian deaths

The father of army major Aditya Kumar moved the apex court last week, demanding that the FIR registered by the Jammu and Kashmir Police be quashed.

The Supreme Court stayed criminal proceedings on Monday against an Indian Army officer named in an FIR over a recent firing incident in Shopian that killed three civilians.

The father of army major Aditya Kumar moved the apex court last week, demanding that the FIR registered by the Jammu and Kashmir Police be quashed.

The SC restrained the Jammu and Kashmir government from taking any coercive action against army officials allegedly involved in the incident, issuing notices to the central and state governments in the matter.

Lieutenant colonel Karamveer Singh had said in his petition that his son was just performing his duty and was “wrongly and arbitrarily” named.

Major Kumar, who is with 10 Garhwal Rifles, was named in the FIR filed against his unit after the army firing on protesters left three people dead in Shopian on January 27.

Police have accused the Garhwal unit of murder, attempt to murder and endangering life.

The soldiers opened fire “only to impair and provide a safe escape from a savage and violent mob engaged in terrorist activity”, the plea said.

The army had on February 1 submitted its version of events to police.

It said the soldiers fired on protesters in Ganawpora village in “self-defence” to prevent the lynching of an officer, snatching of weapons by villagers and burning of their vehicles.

The manner in which the lodging of the FIR was portrayed and projected by the political leadership and the administration reflected the hostile atmosphere in the state, he said. He had approached the court to protect the fundamental rights of his son and himself.

The petition also sought guidelines to protect the rights of soldiers and adequate compensation so that no personnel were harassed by criminal proceedings for exercising their duty.

The FIR had kicked up a storm in the state, pitting ruling coalition partners Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against each other.

While BJP lawmakers demanded the complaint be withdrawn, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the PDP chief, said it was the duty of the government to take the FIR to its logical conclusion.