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Kashmir: 9,700 stone-pelters off the hook, cases against security personnel stay

SP Sharma | Jammu |

As the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir has withdrawn cases against nearly 9,700 youths who pelted stones at the security forces and raised anti-India slogans in Kashmir, it has done nothing to scrap the 16 FIRs registered against the Army, CRPF and state police personnel who were handling the peculiar violence in the Valley.

According to official documents, the FIRs against the security force personnel have been registered for “excessive use of force”.

The coalition government’s alleged discriminatory attitude has created the proverbial situation of being caught between the devil and the deep sea for the security personnel who are expected not to retaliate even when they are stoned by miscreants during gunfights with Pakistan backed terrorists.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti during the recent session of the Assembly said in a written reply that of the 16 cases registered against security force personnel since March 2015, as many as 14 cases were under investigation and one case is under trial and challan has been submitted in the court in one case. Two police personnel of Budgam have been placed under suspension, she had told.

Several security personnel were badly wounded in the stone-pelting incidents in the Valley and career of several young officers of the Army, BSF and CRPF has been spoiled because of departmental action against them because of political pressure.

A case was registered last month against Major Aditya in Shopian district of South Kashmir where the soldiers had no option but to open fire to chase away a violent mob that tried to lynch a JCO and also damaged several vehicles of a convoy. Two civilians were killed due to the firing and the Chief Minister and other Kashmir centric politicians saw to it that a case was registered against the Army. However, fate of the detailed account of the incident submitted by the Army was not known.

A controversy was made out of a similar incident wherein another army officer, Major Leetul Gagoi, rescued the polling staff from a violent mob during the by-election for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. The police registered a case against him for having used a Kashmiri civilian as human shield.

The Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her recent visit here while responding to questions regarding the FIRs against the troops in the Shopian incident made it clear that the Defence Ministry will stand by its men who are discharging duties in a difficult situation.