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Shopian Firing: ‘FIR Naming Army Major Premature,’ Says Commander

Lt Gen Devraj Anbu called the FIR naming the Army Major among other army personnel “premature.”

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Lieutenant General of the Indian Army’s Northern Command, Devraj Anbu, slammed the FIR naming a major of the Indian Army and others of the 10 Garhwal Unit, in the deaths of two civilians from Shopian, Jammu & Kashmir, as a result of firing on 27 January.

We only respond with firing after being provoked to the ultimate. We responded in self-defense and in protection of the Government’s property.
Devraj Anbu, Lieutenant General, Indian Army Northern Command

Lieutenant General Anbu said that naming a major of the Indian Army in the FIR was premature, adding that the investigation has just begun, and that the truth would eventually be revealed.

The 10 Garhwal Unit of the Indian Army opened fire at a group of 100-200 people who allegedly surrounded, and pelted stones at, an army convoy passing through Ganovpora village in Shopian district, on 27 January.

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The FIR was registered after two civilians, Javaid Ahmad and Suhail Lone, lost their lives as a result of the firing. At least 9 more civilians sustained injuries.

J&K Police registered an FIR against the Army, and a major of the 10 Garhwal Unit under Sections 302, 307, and 336 of the Indian Penal Code, for murder, attempt to murder, and endangering life or personal safety, on 27 January.

An Army spokesperson maintained that they only resorted to firing after the situation allegedly escalated.

Within no time, the crowd swelled to 200-250 persons. They surrounded an isolated portion of the convoy consisting of four vehicles. A junior commissioned officer got hit on the head and fell unconscious. The mob tried to lynch the individual and snatch his weapon. The mob then attempted to set the vehicles on fire. 
Indian Army Spokesperson to PTI

He added that a total of seven Army men suffered injuries while extensive damage was caused to eleven vehicles

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On the morning of 31 January, a third person who was injured in the firing, Rayees Ahmad, succumbed to his injuries in a hospital in Srinagar.

The BJP-PDP Alliance, however, has hit a divide over the FIR. Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti ordered a probe into the incident, stating:

If some Army officer has committed a mistake, an FIR has been lodged and it is the duty of the government to take it to a logical conclusion. 
Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister, J&K
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According to IANS, ruling BJP legislator RS Pathania, however, demanded the withdrawal of the FIR lodged against the army personnel, adding that a fresh FIR should be lodged without naming any army personnel.

The BJP legislator said “serious charges” had been levelled against the army in the FIR, which appeared that it had been “done under pressure.”

(With inputs from ANI, PTI, & IANS)

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Topics:  Army   FIR   Stone-pelters in Kashmir 

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