Antony orders probe into Kashmir youth's killing

Against protests in Kashmir over the killing of a youth, defence minister AK Antony ordered a speedy inquiry into the incident overruling the Army and directed that strong action be taken against anybody found guilty on Thursday.

'I have told the Army to complete the inquiry at the earliest and if anybody is found guilty we will take strong action,' he told reporters in Delhi. Earlier the Ministry spokesman issued a statement saying the same.

Hilal Ahmad Dar was killed allegedly in Army firing on Tuesday night in Bandipora in north Kashmir, triggering protests by locals who claimed that he was an innocent local youth and not a militant.

Prior to the defence minister's directive, Army ruled out the need for any probe, maintaining that the deceased was a militant and weapons were recovered alongside him after being killed in retaliatory fire.

'For us there is nothing to prove ... it is clear. Army is a disciplined force and carries out operations with honesty and integrity,' general officer commanding of the Army's 15 Corps Lt General Om Prakash told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Srinagar earlier in the day.

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,' Lt Gen Prakash said.

Local residents have alleged that Dar was killed in custody.


India and Pakistan fought a  limited war over the icy heights of Kargil in J&K in May-July 1999. India took back all positions that had been occupied by Pakistan, but lost 527 soldiers.

Senior Army officers, war veterans and widows of soldiers on Thursday offered floral tributes at the memorial in Drass sub sector commemorating the 13th anniversary of the victory.  Defence Minister A K Antony with Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne and Army Chief General Bikram Singh also paid homage to the martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi.
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