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Shopian killings: CM snubs ally BJP, says Army too can have black sheep

Jammu, Jan 29: In a move that is likely to escalate tensions between the allies PDP and BJP, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that FIR against army will not decrease its moral and there could be some black sheep in the force as well.
Facing angry BJP lawmakers, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said her government had taken action against the army only after consulting Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
“After the killings I immediately spoke to the defence minister and she was very positive. She told me that I should take action if any carelessness or anything wrong has happened. It’s after that we registered an FIR and ordered a magisterial inquiry,” Mehbooba said in the assembly.
The chief minister also stressed that action against the guilty would not hurt the morale of the Army and pledged to take the case to a logical end.
The BJP had argued that the FIR naming the Major should be withdrawn and a new one must be filed without names.
The CM’s statement was a clear rebuff to BJP, who demanded withdrawal of the FIR police has filed against Army in recent Shopian killings.
BJP legislator, R S Pathania demanded withdrawal of the FIR lodged against the army personnel and filing of a fresh FIR in the incident without naming any army personnel.
The BJP legislator said “serious charges” had been levelled against the army in the FIR which appeared that it had been “done under pressure”.
Responding to an intense discussion on the killings, triggered by an adjournment motion, Mehbooba said the government has already ordered the magisterial enquiry and registered an FIR against the army. The investigation will be taken to logical conclusion, she said.
“During the meeting of the Unified Headquarters I directed forces to show restraint in controlling the law and order situations. I directed them to fire in the air,” she said.
She said that the police had advised the army against taking the Ganowpora route in the wake of recent killing but the army had taken the route as they had some important exchange exercise.
Mufti attacked UPA government for not initiating the peace talks with Pakistan, which had started by the BJP leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, she said.
She reiterated her stand that for the first time Prime Minister of a country went to Pakistan uninvited to improve the relations. “But Pathankot incident took place,” she regretted.
Mehbooba said Dr Farooq Abdullah as Chief Minister once talked of revolting against India if they talked to Hurriyat. “I am happy to see the peaceful situation of Jammu and people of Kashmir are freely enjoying their life here,” she said. “Even one of my own MLA told me: Baji Jab mai Jammu aya mujhe lagta hai mai azaad hua”.
Mehbooba said she talked to defence minister regarding the Shopian killings and she assured her that the state government should take the action, it wishes to take.
Chief Minister said that Kashmir issue can be solved only through dialogue with Pakistan and all stakeholders have to be involved. It has to be solved through a political process, she said.
While quoting former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba said that Omar had said that pelting stones on a bunker is equivalent to committing suicide.
Mehbooba’s comments triggered an immediate reaction from Omar who said that the Chief Minister was wrongly quoting him.
“I never said that the pelting stone on a bunker is equivalent to committing suicide. I was actually referring to one Srinagar boy who used to regularly pelt stones on a bunker. When he was caught by police and asked why he pelted stones, he replied that his beloved had deceived him and he, now, wanted to commit suicide. His friends had told him that suicide is forbidden in Islam and that he should pelt stones at the bunker, receive a bullet in return and become a martyr,” Omar said.
He referred to her 2016 statement: “Yeh doodh lane gaye the ya toffee lane”. Omar said he is not politicising on the dead bodies of civilians as PDP does.
Mehbooba Mufti said incidents like Shopian remind us that we cannot afford confrontation at any level and there is an urgent need to engage in a meaningful dialogue at all levels.
The Chief Minister said it was satisfying to note that the House was unanimous in advocating dialogue, reconciliation and peaceful means to sort out differences. She appealed all political parties to maintain consistency in this regard adding that the failures in dialogue in past are no reason not to undertake fresh peace initiatives.
Earlier, several members including Leader of Opposition, Omar Abdullah, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mina Altaf Ahmad, M Y Tarigami, Hakeem Mohammad Yasin, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat, R S Pathania, Gulzar Ahmad Wani, Bashir Ahmad Dar and Pawan Gupta participated in the discussion.
During the discussion that started in response to an adjournment motion by the opposition amid pandemonium, the BJP had has sought the FIR lodged against the army be withdrawn. BJP lawmaker R S Pathania had suggested that the FIR should be withdrawn and a new case should be registered against the army without mentioning a particular unit. Police have already registered a murder case against 10-Garwahl regiment that was passing through the village.