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Sopore case: Army officers face action

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Last updated on: March 20, 2009 22:26 IST
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In a swift action, an Army court of inquiry has indicted three Army personnel, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO) for the last month's north Kashmir Bomai shooting incident in which two youth were killed.

"The high-level Army inquiry, headed by a brigadier, has been completed. The enquiry has held the JCO and two soldiers of 22 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) who were involved in the Bomai incident accountable for various lapses," defence spokesman Lt. Col J.S.Brar told here.

"The charges besides the failure to exercise desired command and control by the JCO also encompasses failure by the two soldiers to exercise restraint in the handling of weapons during the incident," Lt Col Brar said.

"Disciplinary action against the three individuals has been ordered by the GOC counter insurgency Kilo force which will commence with immediate effect."

The Army said any additional charges that may be brought out by police investigations will be dealt with as per the law.

"The Army reiterates its commitment to uphold the law of the land and zero tolerance against human rights violations."

Two youth were killed last month in a shooting incident in the Bomai village triggering massive unrelenting protest.

The villagers had threatened mass migration from the village as a protest against inaction by the authorities against the guilty.

Union home minister P Chidambaram who visited Jammu on Wednesday, had assured the state government of action against those involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah addressed a crowded press conference in Srinagar on Friday evening to claim credit for the speedy action in the conduct of the army's court of inquiry announced that the army camp at Bomai will be relocated within next five days.

Omar said his government has approached the central government regarding shifting of army and paramilitary camps from educational institutions, hospitals and orchards.

"The Bomai camp was adjacent to the girls' school and the parents had requested me for relocation of the camp. It will be relocated within next five days," the chief minister said.

Reiterating his commitment to zero tolerance on human rights abuses, the chief minister assured that action will be taken against those who violate the human rights. 

On the issue of revocation of Armed Forces' Special Powers Act, Omar said, "Let us not forget that as chief minister, I have on the floor of the house said that AFSPA would be revoked, but others are now raising this issue after leaving the office."

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar