Leader of the opposition Omar Abdullah on Friday hit out at the government for making “tall claims on taking FIR against army to logical conclusion” and demanded the constitution of a high-level special investigation team to probe the killings of three people in Army firing in Shopian district on January 27.
He also asked the ruling PDP to introspect over its “Faustian bargain” with the powers that be to remain in power and said the party should realise that bartering its political soul for power was a compromise not only with the remnants of its own dignity but with the honour and interests of the state and its people.
Expressing grief and sorrow over the unabated civilian killings in the state, the National Conference working president sought the constitution of a high-level special investigation team (SIT) to investigate into the twin FIRs on the killing of three civilians in Ganovpora Shopian by the Army.
“It is an extraordinary situation where in the army has lodged a counter FIR and therefore investigations should be carried out by a high-level team of police officers,” Omar Abdullah said while participating in the discussion on grants of the departments under Chief Minister in the Legislative Assembly.
Omar Abdullah said the Chief Minister’s commitment and assurance to take the FIR to its logical conclusion lacked confidence, as no action had been taken on the FIR registered by the police so far.
“You (CM) have assured the people of the state that FIR will be taken to conclusion. It is good. But till now, there has been no action on FIRs (registered against government forces in the past),” Omar said.
He referred to the requests of the State to the Centre from time to time with regard to permission for prosecution of errant central armed forces’ personnel in cases related to human rights violations in the State.
He said that since 2000, the State government had forwarded 50 requests to the Centre to give permission for prosecution of central forces, particularly the Army, where “we have seen human right violations”.
“Forty-seven requests were rejected and three are still pending…This is our track record,” the former Chief Minister said.
Expressing concern over the instable and restless security situation in the State, he said that from Shopian to Kathua, blood was being spilled without any sign of an improvement in the situation.
He also expressed grief and disappointment at the continued loss of lives due to incessant border shelling on Line of Control and the International Border.
“While the recent killing of three civilians in Shopian has shocked the people, the brutal murder of a minor girl in Kathua is no less shocking. It is highly unfortunate that the medical report of the unfortunate girl is still not available despite the assurance of justice to the parents of the murdered child. No wonder why people have lost faith in the investigations ordered by this government”, the NC leader said.
“In this grim security scenario, the government has been talking about holding Pancahayt elections and my party colleagues will present their viewpoint in the all party meeting convened by the Chief Minister but I want to express serious apprehensions about the security of the voters as well as the candidates who participate in the proposed democratic exercise”.
In this context, Omar Abdullah referred to unfortunate incident in his constituency last April during by-elections to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat when a voter (Farooq Ahmad Dar) was tied to the bonnet of an Army jeep after casting his vote and was subsequently paraded through nine villages in a brazen expression of lawlessness and barbarism.
“It is ironic that the present dispensation did not implement the order of its own State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) with regard to compensation to the human-shield victim citing that if such a recommendation was acceded to it would amount to acknowledging the wrong doing of the army,” he said, adding that in the process the young man suffered and continues to suffer mentally and psychologically.
“He was neither owned up by the Hurriyat Conference because he had cast his vote, nor could he get justice from the government for exercising his democratic right. What could be more tragic?” Omar Abdullah added.
On withdrawing of cases against first-time offenders in cases of stone-pelting, Omar Abdullah asked the government to clarify its decision with regard to cases of second-time offenders.
“Let us know whether cases are being withdrawn from a specific period or how the government will arrive at conclusion about second-time offenders”, he added.
Omar Abdullah took strong exception to decisions with regard to state of affairs of Jammu and Kashmir being announced by individuals other than those in the government and hoped that the Chief Minister would take note of this “habitual impropriety” and ensure the sanctity of the State’s institutions in upheld.
In this regard he referred to certain decisions regarding the State being announced by the Special Representative of the Centre or the Union Home Minister.