8:31 pm - Thursday January 17, 2019

Army calls killing of Kashmiri boys a mistake, takes responsibility and orders probe

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The Indian Army on Friday accepted responsibility for the killing of two teenage boys in Kashmir’s Budgam area admitting that it was a mistake and promised a transparent probe into the incident.
Addressing a press conference at the 15 Coprs headquarters in Srinagar, Northern Army Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda said, “We take responsibility for the death of the two boys in Kashmir. We admit that a mistake was made and a transparent investigation will be taken up.” Lt Gen Subrata Saha, the GOC-in-C, of the Srinagar-based Chinar corps was also present in the press meet.We will ensure such incidents never happen again. The army enquiry will be completed within 10-days,” said Lt Gen Hooda. The Northern Army commander also said that the involved military unit of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles had been relocated and troops from 25 Rashtriya Rifles have replaced them. The general however steered clear from the “larger debate of AFSPA” when asked by reporters and said it was not the right platform to discuss that.
According to PTI the Army also announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the kin of each of the deceased and Rs 5 lakh each for the injured in the firing incident.
Two youths were killed and two others injured in army firing at Chattergam in Budgam district of Kashmir on 3 November.
There was a huge outrage over the killings in Kashmir as both the boys killed were teenagers. Among the two people killed on Monday evening was Faisal Yusuf Bhat, 14, a class seven student. He was sitting on the front side of the car, in which four people were traveling. Faisal and Mehraj-ud-din Dar who were killed in the firing lived hundred meters away from each other’s home in a small village of Banpure in Nowgam.
On Tuesday, when angry residents protested against the killing of the two boys and shouted slogans, police fired teargas shells into their direction trying to disperse the crowd.
While regretting the deaths, the army had claimed that the youths, who were travelling in a car, did not stop at two vehicle checking points and even tried to break through the third barrier when asked to stop. One being probed further what actually forced the personnel to shoot, the Army Commander said that the troops had information that suspected terrorists were travelling in a white car in that direction. “But this has proved to be a horrible case of mistaken identity,” he said.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had termed as “highly regrettable” the Budgam incident and said action would be taken against those found guilty. Meanwhile, state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had said the deaths had “vitiated” the election atmosphere in the Valley and stressed that such incidents have no place in an improving security situation in the state.

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