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The Army has convened a Court of Inquiry (CoI) into an incident during the Srinagar bypoll of April 9, when a civilian was tied to an Army jeep’s bonnet and paraded. The CoI follows a preliminary investigation by the Army after a video of the incident was posted by former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah on Twitter last week.
Sources in the Army told The Indian Express that the CoI had been convened on April 15, two days after an FIR was filed by J&K Police into the incident allegedly involving a Major from 53 Rashtriya Rifles. The CoI will be headed by an officer of the rank of Colonel and the report is expected to be submitted by May 15.
An Army official clarified that convening the CoI is not an indictment of the officer and may not necessarily lead to disciplinary action. “It is a fact-finding mission which will speak to witnesses and look at evidence available and recommend a course of action. Appropriate authorities will then take a call on how to proceed,” the official said.
The CoI is a routine procedure in the Army and is convened to ascertain facts and circumstances of an incident. After the findings of the inquiry are submitted, the Army authorities decide to proceed according to the CoI’s recommendations. The April 9 incident, which occurred in Budgam, involved troops from 53 Rashtriya Rifles who tied up Farooq Ahmad Dar on their jeep’s bonnet as a “human shield”. The jeep, the video showed, was the leading vehicle of a convoy.