NEW DELHI. Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Devraj Anbu today said that the Army opened fire into a crowd in Shopian on January 27 in self-defence and in the face of the “ultimate provocation” by a stone-pelting crowd, reported ANI.
Anbu was reacting to the FIR registered by the J&K Police against the army for the incident that left three civilians dead. He called the FIR “unfortunate”.
“The FIR is already lodged. Everything will come out in investigation now. Notwithstanding what the state government did, we had our own inquiry and are clear that we responded when we were provoked to the ultimate,” he said.
The BJP has strongly protested the FIR, while its coalition partner in J&K, the PDP, has strongly defended it.
Northern Army Commander’s Anbu said a “generic” FIR should have been lodged.
The FIR was registered against two Army officers by the Jammu and Kashmir Police. The FIR was lodged under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code against the personnel of 10, Garhwal unit, of the Army. An Army Major, who led the Army personnel at the time of the incident, was also named in the FIR.
“That is an unfortunate thing. In such a case, a generic FIR should have been filed. I think they have prematurely put the name of an individual, I am sure when they investigate truth will come out,” he added.
A day after the incident, a defence spokesman in Srinagar said that the troops opened fire when a mob tried to lynch a junior commissioned officer and snatch his service weapon.
However, CM Mehbooba Mufti, of the PDP, asserted that FIR filed against the Army would be taken to its “logical conclusion”.
“The Army might be doing a wonderful job, but black sheep can be anywhere,” she said.
J&K’s BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta called the FIR “unfortunate and disgusting”. He said nothing should be done that demoralises the forces. And an FIR should instead be lodged against the stone-pelters.
Mufti said she did not believe the FIR would have a demoralising effect on the Army.
“I do not accept that the Army gets demoralised by such actions. The Army is an institution and has done a wonderful job. But a black sheep can be anywhere … Among judges there can be black sheep, but we can’t paint everyone with the same brush,” Mufti said.