The Indian Army has recently confirmed the discharge of Captain Bhoopendra Singh following his involvement in a controversial incident in July 2020, where three civilians were mistakenly identified as terrorists and killed in Amshipora, Kashmir. Despite his dismissal and a life sentence, Singh successfully obtained a suspension of his imprisonment and bail from the Armed Forces Tribunal.
The Tribunal, while suspending Singh’s jail term, upheld other penalties, including his dismissal from service. The decision to confirm Singh’s conviction and sentencing was made by higher Army authorities on November 11, as per legal requirements.
Singh, who had been serving in the Army since 2015, will now lose all pensionary and other benefits due to his dishonorable discharge. The victims, Imtiyaz Ahmed, Abrar Ahmed, and Mohammed Ibrar, were from Rajouri district and were killed in Shopian district.
In a detailed 25-page order, the Tribunal noted that there was no clear motive for Singh’s actions and that these actions were undertaken without the knowledge of his senior officers. It refused, however, to stay his conviction and other punishments.
The Tribunal emphasized that all punishments, barring the jail term, remain in effect. Singh’s legal counsel expressed confidence in the judicial process and hoped for a fair outcome.
The case began to unfold after social media raised doubts over the killings, leading the Army to conduct a Court of Inquiry. This inquiry revealed that the troops had acted beyond their authorized powers under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). A summary of evidence completed in December 2020 led to a general court martial recommending life imprisonment for Singh in March this year.
The Tribunal granted Singh bail under specific conditions, including not contacting any witnesses against him and surrendering his passport. The decision to grant bail was influenced by the fact that Singh had already been detained for around three years and the evidence suggested the possibility of bail.
This development has drawn significant attention, highlighting the complexities involved in military operations and legal proceedings in conflict areas like Kashmir.