Kilo Force Begins Probe In B’pora ‘encounter’

Kilo Force Begins Probe In B’pora ‘encounter’

27 July 2012
Rising Kashmir


Srinagar: A day before the defence minister A K Antony and Chief of Army Staff Gen Bikram Singh arrive here on a pre-scheduled visit, Army has begun Court of Inquiry (CoI) into Tuesday’s “encounter” in Bandipore in which a civilian was killed triggering protests in North Kashmir town. Even as Army maintains that it was a genuine encounter, the counter insurgent Kilo Force has begun the probe. “An officer of the rank of Colonel has been named to conduct the CoI as the operation was conducted by a Major from 27 Rashtriya Rifles. However, the Colonel has been picked from another unit to ensure ‘fairness and transparency’. The process has already begun and we will complete the probe in minimum possible time,” General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps Lt Gen Om Prakash told Rising Kashmir. He said they are open to investigation and there is nothing to hide. “But we cannot jump the gun”. Maintaining that Army was not averse to investigation by Police, Prakash said, “We are ready to cooperate with them to bring the truth out”. However, GoC clarified that he had not used the word “militant” for 21 year old Hilal Ahmad Dar as “put by a section of media”. “I have the full recording of the interaction at the sidelines of a function at Corps headquarters yesterday and anybody can see it,” he said adding that he had just narrated the incident. Asked why he ruled out investigation into the incident, he said, “I did not say that at all. Infact I told mediamen in a lighter vain why they would not investigate it”. Prakash said he had talked about the rules of engagement vis-a-vis Army and not vice versa. “It is important to see the statement in a context and then judge the things,” he said. He said the area had been dominated for last few days in view of continued intelligence input about presence of militants in the area and on that night also they had laid an ambush. He asked people to wait for the investigation assuring that “Army would never kill an innocent civilian”. He also refuted reports that any militant was in custody of Army. “Nor had we picked up Hilal Ahmed before the encounter. I think the investigation by Army and police should bring the facts to fore and we must wait till then,” he added.