The Indian Army took responsibility for the killing of two youths and injuries to two others in the Nov 3 firing at a car in Jammu and Kashmir, and said it will cooperate in any inquiry.
Addressing a media conference at the 15 Corps headquarters in Badami Bagh cantonment here, the army’s Northern Command chief, Lt. Gen. D.H. Hooda said: “We sincerely wish that the killing of civilians wouldn’t have happened. We share the sorrow of the families.”
“An inquiry has already been ordered,” he said.
Two youths – Faisal Yusuf Bhat and Mehrajuddin Dar – were killed in Chattergam village of Badgam district Nov 3 in firing on a speeding car by soldiers of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles. Two other youths travelling in the car were injured.
Lt. Gen. Hooda said 15 civilian witnesses have recorded their statements, apart from those from the army.
He said the army’s inquiry will be completed in around 10 days, and added that the army would cooperate with any other inquiry being conducted into the incident.
“We will cooperate in any other inquiry. Circumstances of the firing are being investigated.”
“We take responsibility of what has happened,” the Northern Command GOC-in-C said.
“Compensation of Rs.10 lakh each for those killed and Rs.5 lakh each for the injured in the firing has been approved by the defence ministry.”
Lt. Gen. Hooda said rehabilitation of the injured would be taken care of by the army.
“I admit that mistake has happened, otherwise why would two civilian boys have been killed like this.”
The army had earlier said the driver of the car jumped the vehicle check posts set up in Chattergam following information that guerrillas were moving in the area in a car.
Police later confirmed that none of the four youths travelling in the car had any militant record.
There has been a public outcry following the incident.
Police registered a complaint for murder against soldiers of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles responsible for the firing.
All the four youths belonged to Nowgam area of Srinagar district.
Sporadic clashes between angry protesters and police have been taking place in Nowgam since Nov 4 after the bodies of the youths were handed over to their families.