Shopian Civilian Murders: Supreme Court stays FIR against Army Major

The Supreme Court also issued notices to the central and Jammu and Kashmir governments in the matter

The court asked for a copy of the petition to be served on the office of the Attorney General K.K. Venugopal.

Terms like "self defence" and other such justifications for an action, can not be considered at the stage of registration of FIR and certainly can not be a basis to quash the FIR (as the petition in the Supreme Court seeks). The state police filed an FIR under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the Major and his Army unit of 10 Garhwal Rifles.

Major Aditya Kumar and other personnel of the Army's 10 Garhwal Rifles are accused of opening fire near Ganowpora village in Shopian district on January 27, resulting in the death of three civilians.

The father of the accused Major, Lt. Col. Karamveer Singh, had petitioned seeking to quash the FIR.

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

Former army chief V.P. Malik on Sunday demanded withdrawal of an FIR registered by Jammu and Kashmir police against an army officer in connection with the recent firing in Shopian.

"The unlawful assembly refused to spare the life of the Junior Commissioned Officer and, therefore, fire was lawfully opened on the unlawful assembly with an aim to disperse the violent mob and protect government servants and property", the petition submitted.

He has also asked for adequate compensation so that no Army personnel is harassed by initiation of criminal roceedings for bonafide actions in exercise of their duties.

In his plea, Singh also referred to last year's incident of a mob lynching DSP Mohammed Ayub Pandith to apprise the top court about the situation in the state and the condition in which army officials were working to control violent mobs in Kashmir.

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 Mehbooba Mufti-led state government had also ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.

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