The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Monday saw a heated dispute between alliance partners Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP. The killings of two stone-pelters in Army firing last week was to be taken up in the house. As the dispute hit the roof the speaker had to prompt in and suspend the question hour.
An Army convoy at Shopian’s Ganowpora village was attacked on Saturday by a mob of 200 people. While firing in retaliating self-defence two youths were killed and another was injured. Following the killings of civilians, the police booked Major Aditya and the Army’s 10 Garhwal for murder and attempt to murder for the killings.
What led to the heated exchange?
The heat of the matter was the demand of BJP MLAs for dropping the Major’s name from the FIR as it would undermine the integrity of armed forces. However, the demand was rejected by the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti of PDP saying the state government had already ordered a magisterial investigation of the incident.
Meanwhile, RS Pathania of the BJP told the house,
“The state government should withdraw the FIR against the Army officer and lodge a fresh one without naming anybody.”
PDP’s play in the case
According to Mehbooba the investigation into the investigation would eventually lead to its logical end. She told the house, “The Army would not be demoralised by an FIR. There can be black sheep in the Army also.”
If Mehbooba is to be believed, the Army had ignored the advice of police to avoid the Gawanpora route. To support her accusations she further added that “During the meeting of the Unified Headquarters recently, I asked the forces to show restraint in controlling law and order. I directed them to fire in the air.”
Government confusing people: Omar Abdullah
Former CM and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah demanded action against the “erring soldiers.” He stated,
“Security forces fired bullets on the chests and heads of the victims. The cycle of killing must end. We want to end this bloodshed.” He added, “No opposition party is playing politics over the issue. Instead, it is being played by the ruling alliance partners… BJP’s demand for the withdrawal of the FIR shows the partners are on a collision course.” He accused the government of confusing people by ordering a magisterial probe. “A magisterial probe is ordered if culprits are unidentified, but the accused is named in the FIR,” he said.
Shopian district magistrate Aijaz Ahmad will investigate the incident and record statements of the witness starting Tuesday. SP Vaid, J&K DGP, said that the Army’s version would also be considered during the probe. “We will go through all the facts and evidence of the case and the Army will be questioned,” he added.
The Army claims it as firing in self-defence after seven soldiers were injured in stone-pelting and the mob attempted to snatch the weapons of an officer.