Antony Overrules Army, Orders Probe Into Youth’s Killing

Antony Overrules Army, Orders Probe Into Youth’s Killing

26 July 2012
Rising Kashmir


Srinagar: Overruling the Army, Defence Minister A K Antony Thursday ordered an inquiry into the killing of a youth in Bandipora area of Kashmir, which triggered protests by locals who claim that he was not a militant but an innocent killed in custody. “While ordering the inquiry, Antony directed Army to take strict action against anyone found guilty,” Defence spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said. Earlier, Army had ruled out any inquiry into the matter contending that the 21-year-old youth Hilal Ahmad Dar was a militant as weapons were recovered alongside him. 'For us there is nothing to prove ... it is clear. Army is a disciplined force and carries out operations with honesty and integrity,' GoC 15 Corps Lt General Om Prakash told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Srinagar. He said the operation in which the youth was killed in Bandipora district on Tuesday night was based on intelligence inputs about movement of militants for the past three days through the area. 'During this operation, movement was observed late in the night. When they were challenged, they opened firing first which was retaliated. One person was killed and weapons were also recovered from the spot,' Prakash said. He said there were clear rules of engagement in militancy-hit areas, which were not followed by the deceased. 'They are supposed not to move unnecessarily late in the night and in case of need, carry a lantern, inform nearest police or army camp. These rules were not followed,' he said. Hilal Ahmad Dar, a resident of Aloosa in Bandipora district, was killed in army firing late on Tuesday night, triggering protests in the area. The local residents have alleged that Dar was innocent and was killed in custody by troops. A police officer had told Rising Kashmir that some locals who had identified the body had claimed that Hilal he was innocent. “We had no record or information which suggested that deceased (Hilal) was a militant. Even he has no criminal background or any association with the militancy,” he said.