National Conference leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah on Friday slammed the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP government in the state, advising the CM to depend upon the state leadership to govern the state instead of taking directions from New Delhi. Speaking in the state Assembly, Omar also sought the setting up of a high-level special investigation team (SIT) to probe the death of three people in the Shopian Army firing incident. Omar, the Leader of Opposition in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, said that the state government had forwarded 50 requests to the Centre since 2000 seeking its nod to prosecute central security forces, particularly the Army, of which 47 had been rejected while three were still pending.
Omar said it “was a battle of two separate FIRs” and said that it would be difficult for a station house officer (SHO) to probe the matter. The magisterial probe, ordered by the state government, could continue separately, he added.
The BJP hit out at Omar over his remarks and said that they were unbecoming of a former chief minister. Terming Omar’s stand on the matter as “unfortunate”, Deputy CM of Jammu and Kashmir Nirmal Singh wondered whether the Army, the institution making sacrifices for the country, did not have the right to approach the law. “They are demanding that they (Army) should be hanged for filing a return FIR but didn’t utter a word against stone-pelters,” Nirmal Singh said.
Meanwhile, ANI quoted CM Mufti as saying that the Army had not filed an FIR and that it has only presented its version of the incident.
No counter FIR has been filed by the Army. It has only presented its version of the incident: J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti on counter FIR filed by Army in Shopian killing incident case
— ANI (@ANI) February 2, 2018
Making a case for human right violations by the Army in the state, the Omar also sought compensation for Farooq Ahmad Dar, a Kashmiri man who was tied to the bonnet of a jeep and used as a human shield by an Army Major on the day of the byelection to the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency. “The Army officer who tied him got an award but this youth who voted in elections does not deserve even the compensation?” Omar asked.
The past few days have seen faultlines widen between the BJP and the PDP over the stand taken by CM Mufti in the Shopian incident. While the BJP has sought that the FIR against the Army is withdrawn, the CM has refused to budge and said it will be taken to its “logical conclusion”.
According to the Army’s version of the January 27 incident, the force’s convoy came under attack by a group of stone-pelters and its personnel resorted to firing as a measure of self-defence. The Army’s version came on Thursday after the state police registered an FIR in the incident in which three youths were killed, naming the 10 Garhwal Rifles led by Major Aditya, PTI quoted officials as saying.