Antony seeks report on Kashmir fake shootout killing

August 9th, 2011 - 8:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony has sought a probe into the alleged killing of a civilian in a staged shootout in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district that has caused major embarrassment for the Indian Army.

According to defence ministry officials, Antony has taken “serious note” of the killing of the civilian who was passed off as a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander from Pakistan.

The defence minister “has directed the army to probe the matter and submit a detailed report as soon as possible”, an official said.

The army on Sunday claimed that they gunned down Abu Usmaan, divisional commander of the LeT, in a 12-hour shootout in a forested area of the district close to the border with Pakistan.

However, it was later established that the slain person was a mentally unstable civilian picked up from neighbouring Rajouri district and shot dead to claim benefits entitled to security force personnel for killing militants.

Police have arrested Special Police Officer Noor Hussain and Territorial Army soldier Abdul Majeed who had conspired and passed off wrong information to the army unit involved in the alleged gunbattle.

The army did a volte face after claiming to have killed the “top LeT commander” from whose possession they also recovered some arms and ammunition.

They passed the buck to the arrested duo. “We were misled by these two men,” said Major General J.S. Shergill, commander of the counter-insurgency Romeo Force.

However, there were no clear answers on how the 12-hour shootout took place if the gunned down person was a civilian, or where did the pistol, wireless set and diary recovered from the shoot site come from.

The Poonch incident is one of the many such stories in Jammu and Kashmir where security forces have been alleged to have killed civilians after labelling them as militants for claiming rewards and monetary benefits.

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