In a virtual clean chit by the Centre to Major Aditya Kumar and Army personnel of 10 Garhwal Rifles into the Ganowpora, Shopian firing incident in which three civilians were killed, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday told Parliament that "Indian Army personnel exercised restraint and gave repeated warnings to the mob to disperse before opening fire in self defence".
During Monday's hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the apex court that Jammu and Kashmir Police could not file an FIR against Major Aditya Kumar or other army personnel serving in the disturbed area without the central government's approval because of the provisions under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
"Let the matter be listed for final disposal on 24 April, 2018".
A bench comparising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, which had stayed the action of state police from taking any corrective step against the major on a petition filed by his father, Lt. Col. Karamveer Singh, who sought quashing of the FIR, completely stalled the investigation into the Shopian FIR on Monday. The bench further informed that the in the meantime, there shall be no investigation on the basis of FIR till then.
In his plea, Singh stated his son, a Major in 10 Garhwal Rifles, was "wrongly and arbitrarily" named in the FIR.
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The army according to eyewitnesses retaliated with firing.
"The CM tweeted accepting that the youth killed in Shopian by the security forces were civilians while telling us that she was "distressed" because of this incident". Copies of the FIR available locally and visible of social media clearly show Major Aditya's name mentioned in the FIR.
But the bench was not convinced by J&K's claim.
The J&K government argued that army officials do not respond to communications sent by investigating officers and think that "they are above law".
To this, the court asked whether Major Aditya was the only person from the army whose names featured in the narrative of the FIR, and does the statement of Naphade mean that Major Aditya will not be named as an accused in future? "After all, it is a case of an Army officer, not an ordinary criminal", Chief Justice observed.
Reacting immediately, Venugopal retorted: "Licence to kill?"