Shopian Killings: India's Top Court Stays Criminal Proceedings Against Indian Army Official

J&K SC restrains police from taking action against Army officer accused in Shopian firing

Advocate Bhatia said, "On our prayer the Court has directed that no coercive action will be taken against Major Aditya Kumar in pursuance of the FIR lodged against him".

The state police had filed an FIR against Major Aditya Kumar, an officer in 10 Garhwal Rifles, in connection with the incident. The case was registered under Section 302 (murder) and Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code.

Two civilians were killed when army personnel fired at a stone-pelting mob in Ganovpora village in Shopian on January 27.

The Army had said that its soldiers opened fire in a desperate situation, trapped by over 200 stone-throwing protesters.

Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Karamveer Singh, Kumar's father, filed a petition in the apex court to quash the FIR.

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.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the petitioner, urged the court to stay the FIR.

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Kashmir, a disputed territory over which India and Pakistan have fought three major wars in the past 70 years, has been of late witnessing a surge in militant attacks and stone-pelting by civilians on Indian security forces.

The father contended that registration of FIR and the consequent proceedings would adversely impact the morale of the armed forces fighting militancy in the state.

The JKCCS has said that the stay of investigations against Major Aditya Kumar is irregular and against the established norms of criminal procedure.

Aside from the FIR, the state government headed by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also instituted a magisterial inquiry+ to look into the matter and submit its report within 20 days.

Attorney General, K K Venugopal has also been asked to help the court to clear the stand of the center on the issue of FIR being issues against the soldiers or army men in relation to the operations. t Major Aditya's name had been mentioned in the FIR, because three people were killed in firing at protesters in Shopian on January 27.

The intention of the Major was to save Army personnel and property, and the fire was inflicted only to impair and provide a safe escape.

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