Omar To Raise Sopore Killings With Chidambaram

18 March 2009

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had promised tough action against the army personnel who have been accused of killing civilians in Sopore. However, Omar has now realised that is easier said than done. He will be raising the issue with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram who will be in Kashmir on Wednesday. The anger on the streets of Sopore may have subsided over last month's killing of two unarmed youth, but tension is still palpable. Many have now threatened to migrate from the Sopore village where the two youths were killed if the soldiers are not punished and the army unit relocated from the area. A magisterial inquiry ordered by Omar Abdullah on February 22 blamed army personnel for not verifying the claims of their informers before shooting down the two men. The District Magistrate also asked the army to present the troopers involved in the killing. But the army wrote back saying such an inquiry was invalid under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that is operational in Jammu and Kashmir. The army spokesman said their own investigation headed by a Brigadier is on and its findings would be revealed to senior officials on completion. Meanwhile, Omar met Defence Minister AK Antony, who assured him that action would be taken against the guilty. Anthony ordered completion of the army's in-house inquiry into the incident in a time-bound manner. 'It is a test case and if New Delhi has said there should be zero tolerance on the human rights violations, we should stick to it,' said Omar. Omar will take up the issue with the Home Minister and senior army authorities and his reputation in the public eye would go up by several notches if his government's word prevails.