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Following the killing of three civilians, allegedly in custody, Army has removed a Brigadier rank officer and has initiated action against the CO of the concerned unit too. It has also ordered a thorough internal investigation into the deaths of three civilians in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir following allegations that they died in its custody. The three civilians were allegedly picked up by the Army for questioning in the wake of the killing of four Army soldiers in an ambush by unidentified terrorists in Poonch on December 21. The three civilians, aged between 27 and 42, were found dead on December 22. Their relatives and political leaders have alleged that the three died due to “custodial torture” as they were among the eight people picked up by the Army for questioning. The Jammu and Kashmir police are also probing the deaths.

Acting promptly and not giving any leverage to anti-national forces to Sources privy to the investigations said that Brigadier P Acharya, who served as the Commander of the 13 sector located in Rajouri’s Thanamandi area, has been removed from his position. This decision comes as an internal inquiry is underway to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three civilians. Meanwhile, the concerned Commanding Officer has got some relief as he was on leave when the unfortunate incident happened. Arun Kumar, CO 48 RR, who was on leave, has been informed not to resume duty until further orders, sources said. However, the sources said that a Colonel and a Lieutenant Colonel have been removed from their positions.

The decisions made by the government are going to have a great impact and have every potential to restore peoples’ faith in the system. Though there have been some unfortunate incidents during past few years, Poonch and Rajouri have been the most nationalistic regions during past several decades. The people never expect to be treated as canon fodder. Despite the provocation, they maintained their cool and looked towards the administration to come up with tangible answers to their queries. Thankfully, the higher authorities of the country have taken a call but unfortunately, the local administration, as the reports suggest, is yet to understand the gravity of the situation.

Thankfully, country’s Army Chief today visited the area and reportedly, the Defence Minister too is visiting tomorrow. These visits are a big signal conveying to the people that, whatever wrongs and rights, their government cares for them. It is appreciable. It is what it should be. Justice should be done and killers should not be spared, neither the one who killed soldiers, nor the one who killed innocent civilians.

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