Sunday, March 22, 2009

Army's Sopore probe report raises new hopes in the Valley

Two civilians were killed and one seriously injured after troops of Rashtriya Rifles allegedly opened unprovoked fire at a group of people in Bomai area near Sopore in north Kashmir on February 21,Saturday evening. After the incident massive protests erupted in the area.Reports reaching here said that troops of 22 Rashtriya Rifles opened indiscriminate fire, allegedly without any provocation, on a group of people who were part of a festival of a revered Saint’s shrine in Bomai.

Locals said that there was no firing from any side. “The Army firing was totally unprovoked and they opened fire at unarmed civilians who were engaged in a gossip” said Manzoor Ahmad a resident. Those who died in the incident have been identified as Muhammad Amin Tantray and Javaid Ahmad and Firdous Ahmad Khawaja was injured.

Such incidents of civilian deaths by Army firing was not new in the Valley.Many a time those involved are not punished. But with a popular elected Government in office the people of Kashmir expected some thing better.

The Chief Minister Omar Abdulla shaken by the incident and the protests it provoked ordered an enquiry by District Magistrate.

District Magistrate’s report said that the firing on February 22 was carried out by the Army in ‘panic’. It also contends the Army’s claim that there was a crossfire by saying that there is no evidence of militants being present on the spot.
This report of which has already been shared with the Army, said Army jawans were searching a bus in Sopore when they noticed some suspicious movement. The jawans opened fire in panic resulting in the death of two innocent civilians, it said.

The Army ordered an inquiry after initially denying its involvement. Now the Army's inquiry report is out.
A Junior Commissioned Officer and two soldiers were on Friday March 20,indicted for “various lapses” in connection with a firing incident at Bomai in Sopore. Army court of inquiry headed by a brigadier held the three belonging to 22 Rashtriya Rifles accountable for “various lapses,”. Disciplinary action had been ordered.

A visibly relieved Omar Abdullah said, “Army probe report is transparent. It is the fastest probe that has been conducted in the valley. I have kept the promise made to the people of the valley. Army has promised that strict action will be taken against the jawans.”

He also said that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which has been in force for nearly two decades in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir, will come to an end during the tenure of his government.

The Kashmiri people like Omar Abdulla is happy with the transparency and speed at which the inquiry was conducted. This raises new hopes of Peace.


  1. I dont know everything about Omar Abdullah.. but i kinda like him... I feel such young leaders need to come to the fore...

    he also may have his detractors and his negatives.. but still we need more younger politicians who have passion !

  2. Omar Abdullah as of now is amongst my favorites... ever since I watched the speech he made during the vote of confidence, I blogged about it too ... he was brilliant, and now we must compare him to another extremely disappointing speech by another young, educated politician...
    The more I see him work the more I like Omar Abdullah.

  3. I too think more young politicians should be like Omar Abdullah...

  4. If we have to win the war in long term, we have to win the people of Kashmir rather than just fight against terrorists.
    Army should definitely be transparent,and Justice should prevail, we understand the situation is very grim and panic is something Human,but its better that admit their mistake rather than defend it.That is what will bring confidence in the minds of Kashmiris.
    Omar Abdullah is a nice chap..!!

  5. hitch,IHM, Yes Omar so far have done well.With more help from the Centre and the Army he may be able to do much better for peace and development in J.K.

  6. Bones,Yes not only young but all politicians should try to emulate him in sincerity and transparency

  7. Yes Chikki winning hearts and minds is most important.Army is working under tremendous pressure.But as you said admitting the mistake will enhance the prestige of the Army in the eyes of Kashmiri's and thereby slowly reduce the pressure.

  8. Welcome news indeed :)
    Thanks to you for your well researched articles.

  9. Basharat Peer's 'curfewed nights' speaks about the horrors faced by the Kashmiris. We who have had such sheltered lives cant even begin to imagine the quality of life of people living in regions where AFSPA prevails.Only when true democracy becomes the right of every individual, will we be able to say with pride Mera Bharath Mahan.

  10. Layman you are welcome

    Vally,Yes "Curfewed Nights" is a must read for anyone interested in Kashmir.The life there is tough both to the Kasmirirs,their leaders and the Army.


Comments are welcome especially if you do not think like me. But anonymous comments behind masks and those not relevant to the post are not encouraged.