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Shopian firing: Omar ready to order judicial inquiry

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said he will order a judicial inquiry by a retired high court judge into the firing incident at Shopian on 7 September that left four persons, including a Pakistani militant, dead.

‘I will have to ask a retired judge of the high court, because sitting judges are not provided... It (the probe) has now become almost compulsory,’ he said, while replying to an adjournment motion moved by opposition parties in the assembly over recent killings in the state.

Omar said he will get an order issued by the Law Department for appointing a retired high court judge to urgently start investigations into the incident and submit a report within a timeframe.
‘Sweet or bitter, we are bound to tell people of Shopian the truth about the incident. If any security force personnel is guilty, he will be punished by the courts and whatever action is possible, will be taken,’ he said.

The chief minister said statements issued by various security agencies over the antecedents of those killed in the firing incident had made the situation ‘murky’ to the extent that even if something is found against these men, nobody is going to accept it.

‘There was a talk right from the beginning that this inquiry needs to be upgraded and I wanted to do it in a (proper) way. If there would have been no statements (from security forces officers), perhaps, we would not need this and we would have come to a conclusion based on the investigations. We have struck the axe at our own feet by issuing these statements,’ he said.
Omar said while there was no militancy record against three local persons killed in the incident, based on police investigations and the evidence he has seen, he is convinced that the fourth person was a militant.

‘He was a not a Bihari labourer. For a moment even if we accept what the Leader of the Opposition said about no one coming forward to own the labourer that locals do not want to get caught in cases... but someone from Bihar would have come forward. Today, everyone has a mobile, phone calls are not expensive... someone from his family would have tried to contact after 22 days,’ Omar said. He said the moot question now is about others killed in the incident.

‘There is a need to ascertain their antecedents. We have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who they were. Just knowing someone (who is a militant), does that make them militants?’ he asked.
On the Kishtwar violence in August, the CM said then minister of state for home affairs Sajad Kitchloo was not asked to resign or was sacked by him.
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