Shopian firing: SC stays FIR against Army Major
The Supreme Court has stayed the FIR lodged against Major Aditya Kumar who was booked by the Kashmir police following the Shopian incident. The SC restrained the J&K police from taking any coercive step against the Major.
This means neither Maj Aditya Kumar can be called for interrogation nor can he be arrested by the J&K police in the Shopian incident FIR. The court also directed the police to file its response in two weeks in response to the petition filed by the Major's father Lt Col (Retd) Karamveer Singh.
While seeking to quash the FIR, the father also said in his petition that Army personnel should be spared from criminal proceedings. He further sought for the setting up of guidelines to protect the dignity of soldiers and also spare them from criminal proceedings.
The petition said the police cannot file cases against army officers in Jammu and Kashmir, since AFSPA (the Armed Forces' Special Powers Act) is operating in the state. The law gives special powers to the army in insurgency-hit areas.
My son was doing his duty to protect the soldiers who were being stoned and about to be lynched... He carried out the orders of his superiors," the petition contended.
The officer's father, who is also serving in the army, said he was compelled to move the Supreme Court directly because of the "extremely hostile situation in Jammu and Kashmir". This, his petition said, became evident in the "manner of lodging the FIR" and the way it was projected by the state's political and administration heads. It appealed that the investigation be carried out in another state with independent and unbiased authorities.
The J&K police had filed an FIR against Major Aditya and others following an incident of stone pelting in Shopian in which two persons had died. The stone pelters in large numbers attacked the Army following which the personnel were forced to retaliate. The Army came out in support of its men and said that they responded only when they were provoked to the ultimate.