Sopore Killings: Army Indicts Three

20 March 2009
The Times of India

Srinagar: A month after two innocent youths were gunned down by Army troops at Bomai in Sopore town of Baramulla district in north Kashmir, a high-level Army court on Friday indicted a junior commissioned officer and two soldiers of 22 Rashtriya Rifles for ‘‘various lapses’’. The Army, however, did not give the names of the JCO and two soldiers. The killings of two youths - Mohammad Amin Tantray and Javid Ahmad - on February 21 had trigerred protests by people who demanded shifting of Army camp from Sopore. Defence PRO Lt-Col J S Barar said the court had not held the three ‘‘fully responsible for the killings but were held accountable for various lapses’’. Disciplinary action against the three, ordered by general officer commanding of Counter Insurgency Force (Kilo Force), will commence with immediate effect, Barar said. The charges against the three Army personnel are that they failed to exercise desired command and control while handling their weapons. The state government had also ordered a magisterial inquiry by former Baramulla deputy commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan. In his report submitted on March 4, he held the Army responsible for the killings. The report said the Army fired at them without any provocation and its ‘‘action was not only disproportionate but breached operational procedures’’. An Army officer, who appeared before the inquiry officer, claimed that the ‘‘terrorists’’ had fired at troops from a pistol. But the inquiry officer found no pistol cartridge.