Major’s dad tells SC: FIR arbitrary
A serving Lieutenant Colonel has approached the Supreme Court to quash the FIR filed against his son, an Army Major, by the Jammu & Kashmir Police in connection with the death of two youths in the Shopian firing on January 27. The petitioner has also sought response of the Centre on this issue since J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has claimed that she got a go-ahead from Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to prosecute the Armymen.
In his petition, Lt Col Karamveer Singh has said that the J&K Police put the life of his son, Major Aditya Kumar, at grave risk in an extremely hostile environment by filing an FIR against him and falsely charging him with committing heinous offences.
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, filed through advocate Aishwarya Bhati, 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”.
Singh submitted that when the behaviour of the “unlawful assembly” reached peak and when they got hold of a Junior Commissioned Officer and were about to lynch him, warning shots were fired to disperse the mob and protect public property.
Singh also referred to last year’s incident of a mob lynching of DSP Mohd Ayub Pandith to apprise the top court of the situation in the state and the condition in which Army officials are working to control mobs in Kashmir.
The petitioner is constrained to file the present writ petition for quashing of the 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.
Major Aditya was named in the FIR under the charge of murder (302) and attempt to murder (307) of the Ranbir Penal Code. The petition stated that on the date of incident, his son was not at the spot where the incident took place, a fact that was glossed over in the FIR.
The petition said, “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.” Besides, the petitioner has asked the SC to issue guidelines to protect the rights of soldiers and adequate compensation to ensure Army personnel who are carrying out bonafide action are not harassed by initiation of criminal proceedings against them.
In a related development, children of serving Army officials in J&K filed a petition before the National Human Rights Commission seeking protection of their life and property. Interestingly, no FIR was registered against the stone-pelters at Shopian for causing injury to Army personnel and property belonging to the Government of India.
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