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2018 Shopian firing incident

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2018 Shopian firing incident
Date27 January 2018
Location
Ganawpora village, Shopian District, Jammu and Kashmir
StatusPolice Investigation, Magisterial Probe and Army Investigation in Process.
Parties to the civil conflict
Indian Army
India People of Jammu and Kashmir
Casualties
Death(s)3 civilians dead
Injuries9 injured
ArrestedNone

The Shopian firing incident or Shopian civilian killings case refers to two civilians being killed when Indian Army personnel fired at a stone-pelting mob in Ganawpora village, Shopian District, Jammu and Kashmir, on 27 January 2018.[1][2] A third civilian succumbed to injuries on 31 January 2018 resulting from the army firing.[3][4][5][6] The army made statements saying it opened fire on the crowd in self-defence and in the face of the "ultimate provocation",[7][8] whereas eyewitnesses claim that the army opened fire after an altercation ensued over the security personnel’s attempt to remove posters near the house of a slain militant in the village.[9][10][11] A police investigation as well as a separate government magisterial probe have been launched.[12][13][14] The army has also launched its own investigation as well as a counter-FIR, as reported by the media,[15][16] which has been contradicted by a statement by the chief-minister of Jammu and Kashmir saying that no "counter-FIR" has been filed, rather a counter to the FIR filed by the police.[17][18][19] In addition to this, on 8 February 2018, the children of Indian army personnel have moved the National Human Rights Commission regarding the human rights of Indian Army personnel being violated daily due to stone-pelting in light of recent events including this one.[20][21]

Incident[edit]

On Saturday afternoon, 27 January 2018, a security force convoy passing through Ganovpora (Ganowpora) village in Shopian district was pelted with stones which resulted in the security forces firing in self-defence.[22]

A defence spokesperson, in a statement, said:

“It was not an operation or patrol [...] an Army administration convoy was passing through Ganovpora when it came under unprovoked and intense stone- pelting by a group of 100-120 stone-pelters. Within no time, their number swelled to 200-250 persons. The crowd surrounded an isolated portion of the convoy consisting of four vehicles. [...] A junior commissioned officer accompanying the convoy got hit on the head and fell unconscious. He was seriously injured. The mob tried to lynch the individual and snatch his weapon. The violent crowd further closed in towards the vehicles and attempted to set them on fire. [...] A total of seven Army men suffered injuries while extensive damage was caused to eleven vehicles. In the process, two civilians succumbed to the bullet injuries”[23][24]

Eyewitnesses in Ganawpora village, where the incident took place however said that the army opened fire after an altercation ensued over the security personnel’s attempt to remove posters of a slain militant in the village.[9][10]

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Shopian, confirmed the death of two civilians identified as Javaid Ahmad Bhat and Suhail Javid Lone. The dead civilians were wrapped in Pakistani flags[25] during the funeral procession and buried in their local graveyards in Balpora and Ganowpora villages, Jammu and Kashmir. Hundreds of locals offered funeral prayers. A total of nine people were injured including Adil Ahmad (19) and Suhail Ahmad and Rayees Ahmad Ganai (21) who had to be hospitalised.[12][26] Rayees Ahmad Ganie, son of Mohd Yousuf Ganie of Narpora village of the south Kashmir district succumbed to his injuries on 31 January 2018.[27][10]

Aftermath[edit]

Curfew and Protests[edit]

As the news of the killings spread, hundreds hit the streets chanting anti-India slogans. Tension in Shopian was already high after security forces killed two militants from Hizbul Mujahideen and a teenage boy during a gun battle on 27 January 2018. One of the slain militants was from the village where the shooting on 27 January took place.[28][29][30][31] Six days of consecutive shutdowns by the separatists and curfews followed.[32] Clashes erupted in Pulwama after the youth injured in Shopian army firing died on 31 January 2018.[33]

Shopian District[edit]

There were minor clashes after the funerals on 27 January 2018 in Shopian District.

Srinagar District and other parts[edit]

The authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Kashmir valley following the incident. Train and internet services were suspended in south Kashmir for the day. District Magistrate, Srinagar, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah ordered restrictions under Section 144:

“In (the) territorial jurisdictions of Srinagar’s Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and M.R. Gunj police stations. Partial restrictions were also imposed in Maisuma and Kralkhud police stations. [...] The restrictions have been imposed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident.”

Separatists leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik called for a valley-wide shutdown over the killings, arrest over the killings[34] and demanded that Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, a view that is widespread even among civilians in the region.[2] All shops and business centres remained closed and there was a thin traffic on the roads.[35][36][37]

Investigation[edit]

A police investigation as well as a separate government probe have been launched. The army has also launched its own investigation.

Police Investigation[edit]

The police registered the FIR under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and section 336 of the Ranbir Penal Code against the Indian Army personnel. The FIR was registered against the personnel of 10, Garhwal unit, of the Army. A Major, who led the Army personnel at the time of the incident was also mentioned in the FIR.[24][9]

Army sources responded claiming:

"The major was not present at the site of the incident. He was around 200 metres away from it [...] he was in the vicinity of the spot"[38][39]

J&K police chief SP Vaid made a clarification statement that no officer has been named in the FIR over the Shopian killings,[40] contradicting the initial statements made by junior police officers that names of army personnel were mentioned in the FIR.[41] SP Vaid said that registration of the FIR in the Shopian incident is just the beginning of the investigation.

“FIR is start of the investigation process. It doesn’t conclude there. [...] No officer has been named, the FIR only mentions the unit of Army headed by the person [...] Now it’s a matter of investigation what were the circumstances they were pelted upon. [...] The Army’s version, eye- witness accounts and the statement of those who lost their near and dear ones would be included. We will go through all facts and the ground evidences of the case and the Army will also be questioned."[40][42]

Subsequently, the army filed a counter-FIR, independent from the FIR filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police.[43][44]

Magisterial Probe[edit]

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti ordered a magisterial inquiry[12] into the killings and sought a report within 20 days, publicly stating:

“The Army is an institution and has done a wonderful job. But a black sheep can be anywhere... Among judges there can be black sheep, but we can’t paint everyone with the same brush. [...] (It is the) government’s duty to take the investigation to a logical conclusion."[45][46]

Army Investigation[edit]

The Army has launched an investigation into the incident.[38]

Reactions[edit]

Parents[edit]

  • Abdul Rashid Bhat father of one of the killed civilians, Javed Ahmed Bhat, said:

"Have no faith in Govt ordered probe"

“It is useless to wait for the government report which is expected to come within 20 days. Show me a single instance when the magisterial probe has achieved anything in hundreds of like incidents since 1989.”[47][48]

  • Javaid Lone, the father of one of the civilians killed, Suhail Javaid, said that his son was at home on the fateful Saturday and was not part of protest:

“Why did not they (the army) fire on his leg? Why (did) they had to hit him on the head?”[47]

“Around 3 pm, an indiscriminate firing started in the village which continued for at least 30 minutes, and Suhail was beside me at our home. When we heard the firing has stopped, he went outside, and forces from some 100 metres of distance fired on him."[25]

India[edit]

  • The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir publicly made statements in support of the police investigation and magisterial probe into the killings, and added that the incident is a "setback" to the political and peace process.[49]
  • BJP MLA from Ramnagar RS Pathania said that his and his party’s stand is that loss of a human life for whatsoever reason and in whatsoever manner is condemnable and that there shall be a magisterial enquiry and criminal action into the matter but added:

“I don’t get this part that how can you lay the blame on a person on the very first day. [...] an FIR against army men for such serious offences on the very first day? [...] Whatsoever happened in the past few days is a law and order issue and there shall be no politics in it. [...] Our stand is that it is wrong to register an FIR in the name of some individuals for such serious offences. First there should be an enquiry into the matter. No criminal investigation can be completed overnight or in one or two hours)"[50]

“The government should withdraw the FIR against the Army personnel and lodge a fresh FIR without naming anybody.”[51]

  • BJP MLA from Nowshera, Ravinder Raina, justified firing by army troops on civilians in Shopian attributing the stone pelting in Shopian to a conspiracy by Pakistan after army troops foiled all its attempts to push militants into the state and that whatsoever army did was need of the hour otherwise hundreds of innocent lives would have been lost:

"Whatever the Army had done is in the ambit of law and in self defence"[52]

  • Rajnath Singh when asked about the case registered against Army personnel following the death of two civilians in firing in Kashmir's Shopian district last week, the minister praised the Army:

"I can say that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has turned far normal compared to what it was. Our security forces and Army personnel were working effectively. J&K is ours, it will always be ours and people of J&K are also ours."[53]

  • The Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has made no official statement.[54]
  • Congress condemned the killings.[49]

Pakistan[edit]

  • Pakistan strongly condemned the "brutal and indiscriminate" use of force by government forces.The Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) in Islamabad issued an official statement:

“[...] Countering peaceful, unarmed protesters with lethal weapons and direct bullets is another manifestation of the state-terrorism being perpetrated by India against the Kashmiris on a daily basis. [...] It is clear that the Kashmiri youth is being systematically targeted in order to break the will of the people. [...] The valiant people of Kashmir have proved, time and again, that no amount of incarcerations, torture and indiscriminate killings could dissuade them from pursuing their legitimate and inalienable right to self-determination."[55][56][57]

Activists and Human Rights Groups[edit]

  • Rights groups say such investigations rarely yield any concrete results and are generally aimed at calming public anger.[2]

See also[edit]

  • Insurgency in Kashmir
  • Stone pelting in Kashmir
  • Human Rights Abuses in Kashmir
  • Psychological Warfare
  • 2018 Kulgam encounter

References[edit]

  1. Ashiq, Peerzada (2018-01-28). "Kashmir tense after Shopian civilian killings". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Press, Associated (2018-01-27). "Police say Indian army shooting kills 2 in Kashmir". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  3. "Controversial firing by Army in Shopian: Civilian death toll rises to 3". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  4. "South Kashmir: Youth injured in army firing in Shopian succumbs; toll three". Greater Kashmir. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  5. "Shopian firing: Injured youth succumbs to injuries, civilian death toll rises to 3". One India. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  6. Ashiq, Peerzada (2018-01-31). "Army firing in Shopian: youth succumbs to injuries, toll rises to three". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  7. "Shopian incident: Soldiers provoked to the ultimate, fired in self-defence, says Army - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  8. "Shopian firing: Army files counter-FIR - Times of India ►". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "FIR filed against army over killing of two civilians in Kashmir's Shopian". Hindustan Times. 2018-01-28. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Army files its version of Shopian firing that killed 3 civilians". Hindustan Times. 2018-01-31. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  11. "[...] the army had, on January 27, sought the removal of the black flag outside the late militant’s house, the residents refused to obey, saying it was an Islamic flag and has nothing to do with any organisation [...]". Outlook India.https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/shopian-killings-trigger-fresh-debate-on-education-reforms-in-jk-defocusing-kash/307762
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "South Kashmir: Two civilians killed in army firing in Shopian, govt orders magisterial probe". Greater Kashmir. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  13. Ashiq, Peerzada (2018-01-29). "Police register case against Army unit, Major for Shopian firing". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  14. "J&K: Murder case registered against Army personnel on civilian deaths in Shopian firing". Zee News. 2018-01-28. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
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  16. PTI. "Army Gives Its Version of Shopian Firing to J&K Police, Files a Counter FIR - The Wire". thewire.in. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  17. "No Counter FIR By Army In Shopian Firing Incident, Says Mehbooba Mufti". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
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  19. "'No Counter-FIR, Just Army's Version of Shopian Firing': CM Mufti". The Quint. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  20. "Army kids move NHRC against stone-pelting at personnel - Times of India ►". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  21. "Stone-pelting in J-K: NHRC takes cognisance of complaint by Army officers' children". Hindustan Times. 2018-02-09. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
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  23. PTI (27 January 2018). "Jammu and Kashmir: 2 civilians killed in army firing in Shopian". Livemint. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Two protesters killed in army firing: J&K police". The Indian Express. 2018-01-28. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Wrapped in Pakistan flag martyred students buried in Shopian". Kashmir Media Service. 2018-01-29. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  26. "Kashmir: 2 civilians killed by security forces in Shopian". India Today. 2018-01-27. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
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  32. "Shopian shuts on 6th consecutive day against civilian killings". Greater Kashmir. 31 Jan 2018. Retrieved 31 Jan 2018.
  33. "Clashes erupt in Pulwama after youth injured in Shopian army firing dies". Greater Kashmir. 31 Jan 2018. Retrieved 31 Jan 2018.
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  37. "Govt ordered probes carry no value: JRL". Kashmir Reader. 2018-01-29. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
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  39. "Major named in FIR was not at Shopian firing spot, claim Army sources". The Economic Times. 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  40. 40.0 40.1 "No officer named in FIR in Shopian incident: J-K DGP". The Statesman. 29 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  41. "Civilian killing in Shopian: Former J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah dubs magisterial probe, FIR as confusing". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
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  43. "Army Files Counter-FIR in Shopian Firing Incident, Says Soldiers Responded to 'Ultimate Provocation'". News18. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  44. "Army Files Counter Case In Kashmir, Now It Is Police FIR Vs Army FIR". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
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  47. 47.0 47.1 "'Have no faith in Govt ordered probe'". Greater Kashmir. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
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  50. "Cracks in J&K govt: BJP demands withdrawal of FIR against army men over Shopian civilian killing". The Indian Express. 2018-01-29. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
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  53. "Pakistan must not misinterpret India's 'decency': Rajnath Singh". The Economic Times. 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  54. "Why no clarification on Shopian firing from Defence Minister, asks Subramanian Swamy". Zee News. 2018-01-31. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
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