The Supreme Court on Monday restrained the police from taking any coercive steps against Army Major Aditya Kumar in connection with the Shopian firing incident. Three civilians were killed in an Army firing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district in January. The police had then filed a First Information Report against Kumar.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud issued notices to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government, asking them to reply within two weeks.
Kumar’s father Lieutenant Colonel Karamveer Singh had filed the plea on Thursday. In the petition, the Army officer’s father had said that the FIR registered by the police had no legal basis and his son was falsely accused by the state police.
On January 27, soldiers from the 10th Garhwal Rifles unit had objected to a black flag with Islamic inscriptions placed in Shopian’s Ganowpara village. Their demand to remove the flag, commonly associated with the Islamic State group, did not go down well with the villagers, who took it as an infringement on their religious beliefs. This triggered the clashes, with the protestors pelting the Army convoy with stones. Three men were killed after the Army opened fire on the crowd.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police had filed a case against the Army unit and the Army in return reportedly filed a counter FIR and claimed that the protestors had provoked the soldiers of the 10th Garhwal Rifles unit “to the ultimate”.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the court’s move will have to be contextualised. “We will have to see how it goes,” the minister said. “We stand by our proud soldiers and Army. The Ministry of Defence will also possibly have to respond to the Supreme Court.”