Shopian firing: Army did not join probe against Major, says police

When contacted by The Indian Express, J&K DGP S P Vaid said: “Neither the army nor the public has cooperated with our investigation from the beginning. That is a fact.”

Written by Muzamil Jaleel | New Delhi | Updated: March 6, 2018 9:11:48 am
The report states that police sent a series of communications over the incident to the Army, including to Brigadier Harbeer Singh, Commander, 12 Sector.

Even before the Supreme Court on Monday put the probe on hold, the Army did not cooperate with their investigation against a Major named in an FIR on the killing of three civilians in Shopian on January 27, according to a status report prepared by J&K Police. The report states that the three were killed in firing by the Army, which was responding to stones being pelted by youth on a convoy of 10 Garhwal Rifles, “under the command of Major Aditya”. The report states that the local population, too, has not cooperated with the police investigation.

When contacted by The Indian Express, J&K DGP S P Vaid said: “Neither the army nor the public has cooperated with our investigation from the beginning. That is a fact.” The report states that police sent a series of communications over the incident to the Army, including to Brigadier Harbeer Singh, Commander, 12 Sector. The Army’s response to most of these communications was that they were “verifying” the matter, it states.

Consider key extracts from the report:

* “On 27-01-2018… at 15:15 hrs, Police Post Keegam learnt from reliable sources that an army convoy of 10 Garhwal Rifles from 12 Sector Balapora under the command of Major Aditya was on way from Balapora towards Ganowpora. As soon as the convoy reached Ganowpora, some youth pelted stones upon their vehicle. In response the army personnel and the officers fired resulting in injuries to, amongst others, three youth… who succumbed to their injuries.”

* “Various efforts were made to join the Army men in the investigation and to get their version for fair, thorough and impartial investigation in the incident.” “On 30-01-2018, notice under section 160 CrPC was served to Brigadier Harbeer Singh, Commander 12 Sector… wherein he was requested to attend Police Post Keegam for recording his statement or send his written statement, to which he replied that due to exigencies of service, the officer will not be available on 01-02-2018.”

* “On the same date, a notice under section 160 CrPC was also served to Lt Colonel Pranay Shrivastav G-1, 12 Sector RR headquarters…wherein he was asked to attend Police Post Keegam for recording of his statement to which reply was received …on 31st January 2018 that due to exigencies of service the officer will not be able to record his statement on 01-02-2018.”

* “On 31-01-2018, letter was sent to the General Staff Officer 12 Sector RR headquarters, Balapora wherein he was requested to furnish details of weapons/ammunition used by the army personnel and subsequently deposit all such weapons for thorough investigation, to which he replied that the matter is being verified.”

* “On 31-01-2018, a letter was also sent to General Staff Officer 12 Sector RR headquarters Balapora to deposit the vehicles which had got damaged in the incident to which it was replied through letter (dated 01-02-2018) that they are still verifying the matter.”

* “On 31-01-2018, a letter was also sent to General Staff officer 12 Sector RR headquarters Balapora with the request to furnish the details of army personnel who got injured in the incident, to which he replied through his office letter (dated 01-02-2018) that the details are yet to be verified.”

* “On 19-02-2018, the IO inspected army vehicles damaged in the incident. Lt Colonel Ajay Kumar from 12 Sector RR was also requested to provide vehicle damage report, injury memos and medical documents of the injured army personnel. Despite this request, no material was provided to the IO.”

* “On 20-02-2018, the IO and his team once again approached the concerned army authorities seeking their participation and inspected their vehicles. However, they were not permitted to photograph the affected vehicles.”

The status report says Colonel S K Chaudhuri of 10 Garhwal Rifles sent “an incident report, photographs of damaged vehicles and injured soldiers” to the Shopian police station on January 28, which was “made part of the investigation” being conducted by a DySP.

The report also reveals that the local population hasn’t come forward to help in the investigation. It states:

* “..the injured/dead bodies had been taken away by the relatives and locals, thus no medico legal formalities could be completed by the police. However, police sought medical records from hospitals where the injured/deceased were taken by the locals.”

* “On 05-02-2018, the Investigating Officer once again visited the spot to record the statements of witnesses and seizure of material lying near the scene of occurrence but due to continuous protests by the locals, the statements couldn’t be recorded and nothing relevant to case could be recovered. The numberdar and chowkidar of the village were advised to ensure presence of the witnesses but till date no one has turned up.”

* “On 14-02-2018, the scene of occurrence was again visited by the investigating officer and pieces of windshield glass of damaged army vehicles were seized. The village heads, Numberdar, Chowkidar and other inhabitants were requested to give statements which they declined.”

* “Till now the IO has made various attempts to elicit the participation of local villagers in the investigation and record statements of the witnesses. However, despite repeated attempts and requests there has been no cooperation… no one has come forward to give statement.”

* “On 18-02-2018, Constable M Asif was directed to visit village Ganowpora…. no one came forward to record statement and he was turned away.”

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