Terming the incident as a mistake, the Indian Army has taken responsibility for the Budgam firing in which two people were killed and two others were injured. “We take responsibility of incident. A mistake has taken place,” GOC Northern Command Lieutenant General DS Hooda said.
However, he maintained that the Army is committed to a “fair and transparent probe. Army will fully cooperate with the police in the investigation. If there was any violation, we will deal with it strictly.”
He also assured that the Army will ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future. “We share the sorrow and grief of the families. We express deepest regret over the loss of lives,” he said.
The officer assured that highest standard of transparency will be followed to determine how this mistake took place. He added that action would be taken if rules had been violated. Fifteen civilian witnesses and service witnesses have been examined as part of the inquiry ordered following the incident. The inquiry will be completed in 10 days or so, he said.
With all the work done during floods, incidents like this take us back, said Lt General Hooda, adding: “We sincerely wish the incident would not have happened.”
While responding to questions by media personnel, Lt General Hooda said the Army would refine its drills and come up with steps to make sure that such things do not occur again.
He further said that AFSPA has nothing to do with this incident.
The Army has announced Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of each of the deceased and Rs 5 lakh each for the injured.
Two youths – Faisal Yusuf Bhat and Mehrajuddin Dar – were killed, while two others – Shaker Bhat and Zahid Naqash – were injured on Monday evening when soldiers of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles opened fire at the car in which they were travelling in Chattergam village, 20 km from Srinagar.
The youths were from Nowgam area of Srinagar district.
The Army had said the car driver did not stop at a mobile vehicle check post (MVCP) when he was signalled to do so.
“At approximately 5 pm a white Maruti 800 car approached the first check point where a personnel tried to stop the car, but it did not stop. Again at the second check point, the vehicle did not stop,” the Army statement had said.