Antony overrules Army, orders probe into Bandipora killing
Have Killed Militant Doesn’t Need Any Inquiry: GOC
New Delhi, July 26: Overruling his Srinagar-based top Army Commander, defence minister A K Antony on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the killing of a youth in Bandipora district of north Kashmir triggering massive protests in the area.
Hilal Ahmad Dar, a resident of Aloosa in Bandipora district, was killed in army firing late on Tuesday night, fueling massive demonstrations in the area. The locals alleged that Dar was killed in custody.
Talking to media-persons immediately after ordering the probe Antony said that he has asked the army brass to take strict action against anybody found guilty. The move comes ahead of his Kashmir visit starting on Saturday to review the security situation in the state.
Antony, however, side-stepped queries on whether he will discuss the review of controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) with the state authorities including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. “I am going to review overall security situation in the state,” he quipped in response to this query.
Earlier, the Army had ruled out any inquiry into the matter contending that the youth was a militant as weapons were recovered alongside him.
“For us there is nothing to prove. It is clear we have killed the militant and it doesn’t need any inquiry. Army is a disciplined force and carries out operations with honesty and integrity,” General Officer Commanding of the Army's 15 Corps Lt General Om Prakash told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Srinagar.
He said the operation in which the youth was killed in Bandipora on Tuesday night was based on intelligence inputs about movement of militants for the past three days through the area.
“During this operation, movement was observed late in the night. When they were challenged, they opened firing first which was retaliated. One person was killed and weapons were also recovered from the spot,” Lt Gen Prakash said.
While the police maintained that it may have been a case of mistaken identity, the government ordered a separate magisterial probe to ascertain the facts.
On Wednesday, spontaneous protests broke out in the area after Dar's body was handed over to relatives for burial. About two dozen villagers were injured in clashes with police in Bandipora town when protestors carrying his body shouted anti-government slogans and pelted stones at the security forces.
Villagers and the victim's family said Dar was innocent and was killed after the Ramadan evening 'Taraweeh' prayers. With inputs from Shabir Ibn Yousuf in Srinagar
Lastupdate on : Thu, 26 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 26 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 27 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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