02, Nov 2015
Soldiers face proceedings for ‘excessive use of force’
Four soldiers are likely to be tried by a military court for killing two teenagers and injuring their two friends in a case of mistaken identity in Kashmir’s Budgam last November that triggered a wave of protests and saw the Army issue a rare apology.
An Army probe found charges of use of excessive force against the soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer, to be true, but a court martial will be initiated only after the Jammu and Kashmir government shares its inquiry report with the Army, sources said. If found guilty, the four men face a maximum of life imprisonment.
“Civilian casualties will not be tolerated. Procedures have been tightened to ensure such incidents never happen again,” Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda said.
The Army often finds itself at the receiving end of public anger, with its men being accused of using excessive force. In recent years, it has tried to correct the perception by acting against soldiers. The Budgam probe is said to be one of the quickest to be conducted in the Valley.
On November 3, 2014, a patrol belonging to 53 Rashtriya Rifles opened fire on a white Maruti car, after it allegedly evaded two check points, fuelling suspicions that there were terrorists inside.