2 minute read‘Indian Army has not probed Kashmir shootout involving likely chief’

New Delhi: The Indian Army had not done any investigation in the alleged fake shootout case involving its likely future chief Lieutenant General Bikram Singh when he was posted as a Brigadier in Jammu and Kashmir.

This was stated by Indian Army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh at his annual pre-Army Day press conference here.

Singh also said he had no idea as to the outcome of the investigation by the civilian police into the alleged staged shoot out in 2001.

He said the army had a report on the incident and that this document was made available to the authorities concerned.

The army chief, however, also refused to further comment on the issue, as the matter is now sub-judice in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

“What happened at that time, we have a report of that. It has been made available to authorities. I don’t think there was an inquiry carried out at that time. Because in all such encounters, it is left to the civil police to investigate,” Singh said when asked about the controversy involving Lieutenant General Bikram Singh, present Eastern Army Commander.

“What they (the police) did at that time, I am not aware. And I don’t think anybody will be aware,” he added.

“In this particular case, some relative has gone to the court and the matter is sub-judice. Anything for me to say or for anybody else to say wouldn’t be correct,” he added.

A writ petition has been filed by a Kashmiri mother, Zaituna, alleging that the alleged militant killed in the March 1, 2001, south Kashmir shootout may be her son Abdullah Bhat, a resident of Machil border area in north Kashmir.

The Lieutenant General Bikram Singh was then a Brigadier heading Rashtriya Rifles’s 5 Sector unit headquartered in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. The shootout took place in Janglat Mandi under his control.

The army had then claimed to have killed Mateen Chacha in a gunfight with militants that also led to the death of two civilians and two army personnel.

Bikram Singh, now heading the Eastern Command, was also injured in the cross-fire. The police in their report on the shootout had confirmed the army claims.

But a decade later, Zaituna filed a petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court last year claiming the militant was her son. Zaituna’s daughter Jana is a co-petitioner.

The petition seeks reinvestigation of the case and remains of the alleged militant exhumed for DNA test.

The court in its order on Oct 13, 2011, asked the state government and the defense ministry to file their responses to the petition and sought all records pertaining to the case for perusal.

It is now expected to be taken up for hearing in February when the high court re-convenes in Srinagar after a month-long winter vacation.

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