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J&K Govt Pushes for Probe Into Shopian Firing on Civilians Involving Major Aditya

Three civilians were killed in Shopian in January this year after Army personnel opened fire on a group of stone-pelters, reportedly in self-defense.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:July 16, 2018, 4:56 PM IST
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J&K Govt Pushes for Probe Into Shopian Firing on Civilians Involving Major Aditya
A masked Kashmiri protesters runs for cover amid tear gas smoke. (Image: AP)
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New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir government has pushed for investigation in the Shopian case involving Major Aditya and claimed that the Major’s father cannot file a petition in this regard.

On Monday, the state government maintained before the Supreme Court that there cannot be an "indefinite" stay on the probe into the incident.

Observing that Major Aditya cannot be treated like an ordinary criminal, the Supreme Court had in March stayed all investigations into the Shopian stone-pelting case.

Three civilians were killed in Shopian in January this year after Army personnel opened fire on a group of stone-pelters, reportedly in self-defense.

The Jammu and Kashmir government subsequently lodged an FIR into the incident against the Army convoy under charges of murder and assault among others.

But in its affidavit, the J&K government countered the decision to stall the probe and said that it will be a serious breach of statutory provisions, besides possible violation of the rights of the victims, if the investigation was not carried out into cognisable offences.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, representing the state government, further told a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India that the top court could not entertain the petition filed by Major Aditya's father Lt Col Karamveer Singh.

"How can the father file a petition under Article 32? It is not a habeas corpus petition. Whose fundamental rights is he trying to protect? He can only file a petition if he was involved. It is a criminal investigation after all. He doesn't have the locus and this petition ought to be thrown out only on this ground," argued Naphade, assisted by J&K standing counsel Shoaib Alam.

The lawyers said that they would be raising the question of maintainability as their first objection to the petition when the case is finally heard.

Naphade then added that the order to stay the investigation was passed in March and that this order cannot be allowed to remain in force in perpetuity.

"Let us argue the matter. I am ready to argue on the point of law as to whether there is an absolute immunity to armed forces," he said.

The lawyer requested the bench to issue notices to all other state governments as well since there are FIRs filed also by the local police there against the armed forces personnel.

At this, appearing for the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal pointed out that J&K is under AFSPA and hence, the situation cannot be equated with other states.

The bench replied that it is not inclined to issue notices to other states at this juncture and will first hear the case on July 30 on questions of law.

| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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