//J&K govt orders probe into Handwara killings

J&K govt orders probe into Handwara killings

SRINAGAR: Succumbing to the pressure of opposition National Conference, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday announced a judicial probe into the killing of four boys in Handwara on February 22.

Replying to the discussion on Handwara incident in the Legislative Assembly, Azad said the government has no objection in announcing a judicial probe into the whole episode. He said the modalities of the probe will be worked out by the law department. “If the members want to have a judicial probe into the incident we have no objection. As far as procedures are concerned, it will be worked out by the deputy chief minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig who also holds the charge of the law ministry,” he said.

Defending security forces, Azad said the army and other forces have done a commendable job in fighting militants and bringing about peace in the state. He said 3493 soldiers have died while fighting militants in the 17 years of militancy. Nearly 1200 para-military jawans have also died in the fight against the militancy. Around 15894 civilians also died in the same period.

Azad said the soldiers who are found guilty of any violation are being dealt seriously. He said so far 134 army officials have been punished and two of them have even been given life imprisonment. Similarly 60 cops and 70 BSF men have also been punished for violations.

“The security forces are responsible enough to deal with the aberrations. The figures show it all. The killing of innocent people in the cross fire is very unfortunate and security forces should take care to avoid collateral damage,” he said.

Earlier National Conference leader Dr Mehboob Beig who had moved the adjournment motion said the people are fed up with the probes because they have yielded nothing. “We feel the judicial probe can only satisfy the people. And it is the only way to restore the confidence of people,” he said.  Dr Beig also called for revocation of special powers given to the security forces. “There is a need to do away with the special powers given to the forces to deal with the situation. These laws are proving counterproductive,” he said.

For the last three days the National Conference members have been on their toes in the house demanding judicial probe into the Handwara Killings. They staged  protests outside the legislature in this regard. To pacify the opposition, Azad decided to go for a judicial probe.