Indian Army
An Indian army soldier take his position near his camp. [Representational Image]Reuters File

Army has charged nice of its men including a junior officer of 53 Rashtriya Rifles for killing two Kashmiri youths in Budgam firing on 3 November.

"The court of inquiry has found gross violation of rules of engagement by the soldiers. They have been indicted. There has been a total failure of the command by the officer in-charge of the Army column," Greater Kashmir quoted an official as saying.

The Deputy Commander of Qazigund-based Rashtriya Rifles (RR) Sector-2 completed the enquiry five days ago and a report has now been submitted, recommending court martial against the soldiers. 

"The file has been sent for final approval to GOC-in-Chief northern Command. Hopefully we will get the approval by next week," the official said.

On 3 November, the Army men opened fire at a Maruti car, killing two youth – Faisal Yusuf, 14 and Mehraj-u-din Dar, 21 – and critically injuring two others, while the fifth occupant escaped the firing as he fled to the fields.

The 53 Rashtriya Rifles soldiers had claimed that they resorted to firing when the teenagers did not stop despite being signalled. The indicted soldiers are expected to face life imprisonment and lose all service benefits, according to GK source.

"All these soldiers have been detached from the parent unit. They are not involved in active duty now," the source said.

The incident witnessed massive protests in the valley and several angry residents came out on the streets condemning Army for killing two innocent people. Following the protest, the Indian Army took the responsibility for the firing and termed it as "mistake and a violation of rules of engagement."