Ankit Sharma Sharma
Green tea Addict | A Tree Hugger | Born for Change
Major Aditya Kumar of the 10 Garhwal Rifles, Rifleman Aurangzeb (posthumously) of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, and 18 others were awarded the country’s third highest gallantry award approved by the President Ram Nath Kovind.
Major Aditya Kumar got riled up in a controversy on January 27, after his unit fired at stone -pelters killing three people, The Economic Times reported. Moreover, after the incident, the Jammu and Kashmir Police registered First Information Reports (FIRs) under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code against the whole unit.
However, his father Lt Colonel Karamveer Singh filed a writ petition with the Supreme Court in February, seeking the cancellation of the FIR, as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) does not allow state governments to file FIRs against serving army personnel.
The Economic Times mentioned the details of the petition, which argued that his son was only performing ‘bonafide duties’. Also, it said that the disorderly mob, pelting stones at their vehicles, had put lives of the officers at risk. The situation became extremely grave when the mob were about to lynch a Junior Commissioner Officer, after-which the unit opened fire.
The petition also questioned the fact that the FIR was only filed against Major Aditya and no member of the mob was mentioned in it, and further alleged that it,“exposes the extremely sinister design, by which the entire effort is to somehow attack and break down the morale of the forces.”
On the hearing on February 12, the apex court directed the Jammu and Kashmir Police to refrain from taking action against the accused officers. The Indian Express noted that on the March hearing by the Supreme Court, the Jammu and Kashmir Government informed the court that Major Aditya Kumar was not named as an accused, however, they retracted in the July hearing and took a stand that investigations into the matter must take place.
The Wire reported that as on March 2018, the Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra put a stay on the investigations.
The Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Rifleman Aurangzeb on June 14 was abducted by militants in the Pulwama district. He was headed home towards Salani village in Poonch to celebrate Eid. A few hours later, his body was found in Gussu village in the Pulwama district.
According to The Times of India, Aurangzeb was assigned to be the ‘buddy’ of his company commander Major Rohit Shukla, who was responsible for the killing of one of the most wanted terrorists, Sameer Tiger, which made him a target of the militants.
The New Indian Express reported that the two main political parties in Kashmir, the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), strongly voiced their disagreement against the award.
PDP chief spokesperson Rafi Ahmed talked to the newspaper and said “If fingers are being raised against an officer for committing human rights violations, then the officer should not have been awarded. Normally it should not have happened. The charges against him should be taken care of. It is unfortunate that when FIR was registered against Major Aditya, the case went to Supreme Court and the apex court stayed the proceedings in the FIR. This adds to the situation that is messy here and fuels further anger among the people. Maybe he deserves the award, but his actions (in which three civilians were killed) was condemned widely and the army should have taken care of it before honouring him.”
Additionally, Nasir Aslam Wani, the provincial president of the NC was quoted as saying, “It is better to avoid these kinds of actions so that people also feel wanted and don’t consider themselves unwanted.”
Last year, on November 29, his operation killed two terrorists including Abu Baker, one the dreaded militants, and according to the official sources which told The Indian Express. It was this operation which garnered him the award.
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