Shopian Firing: Army Major's Father Pleads SC to Quash FIR Against Son

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A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will give its order on Karnataka’s Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s grant of a water-sharing formula between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry – where the two states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have primarily been caught in a tussle for more water from the river for decades.

New Delhi: The father of Army Major Aditya Kumar, booked by the Jammu and Kashmir Police over the Shopian firing incident, has moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the FIR against his son.

Lieutenant Colonel Karamveer Singh said his son, a Major in the 10 Garhwal Rifles, has been "wrongly and arbitrarily" named in the FIR as the incident relates to an Army convoy on bonafide military duty in an area under the AFSPA, which was isolated by an "unruly and deranged" mob pelting stones causing damage to military vehicles.

The plea said the intention of his son was to save Army personnel and property and the fire was inflicted "only to impair and provide a safe escape from a savage and violent mob engaged in terrorist activity".

The mob was requested to disperse and not obstruct military in their duties, but when the situation reached beyond control, a warning was issued to disperse, the plea said. As the “unruly behaviour” of the "unlawful assembly" reached its peak and when they got hold of a Junior Commissioned Officer and were in the process of lynching him to death, warning shots were fired fire to disperse the violent mob and protect public property, it submitted.

Singh also referred to last year's incident of a mob lynching of DSP Mohd 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.

"The petitioner is constrained to file the present writ petition for quashing of FIR, directly before this court in view of the extremely hostile situation on the ground, whereby an FIR has been registered by local police against the son of the petitioner, who is a service Army officer and was performing bonafide duties as directed by the Union of India.

"The manner in which the lodging of the FIR has been portrayed and projected by the political leadership and administrative higher-ups of the State, reflects the extremely hostile atmosphere in the State. In these circumstances, the petitioner is left with no other viable option but to approach this court under Article 32 of the Constitution for protection of Fundamental Rights of his son and himself, enshrined under Article 14 & 21 of the Constitution," the plea said.

The petitioner has sought directions to issue guidelines to protect rights of soldiers and adequate compensation so that no Army personnel is harassed by initiation of criminal proceedings for bonafide actions in exercise of their duties.

It has also sought registration of FIR against persons involved in the terrorist activities which had caused damage to property of the government.

The FIR was registered against the personnel of 10, Garhwal unit of the Army including Major Kumar under sections 302 (murder) and 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, prompting the chief minister to order an inquiry into the incident.

(With PTI inputs)