An army court has awarded death sentence to a jawan who had shot dead his senior officer at Nishat in Srinagar following an altercation last year, a defence spokesman said on Friday.
Sepoy K C Behra was awarded death sentence by the General Court Martial last week for killing his senior officer and company commander Lt Colonel Saket Saxena on October 31, 2006, the spokesman said.
He said the sentence was subject to confirmation by the chief of army staff and the Central government.
It is perhaps for the first time that an Army jawan has been given death sentence for killing an officer.
Although no one from the Army was willing to comment on the quantum of sentence, it is widely believed that the jawan was given the severest punishment in order to arrest the trend of fratricide in the armed forces.
Army has witnessed as many as 90 cases of fratricide killings, mostly among troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir over the past two years, in which 26 soldiers and officers lost their lives.
In all these cases, Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry, which also entails trial by a General Court Martial.
In the first two cases, which had come up for hearing, Army personnel who opened fire on their colleagues complained of 'perceived harassment' from their superior officers.
Defence Minister A K Antony has set up a committee of experts to study the growing number of suicides. The committee, which includes experts drawn from the Defence Institute of Psychological Research, will submit its report by March 31.
Antony has also written to chief ministers of states to ensure that problems faced by jawans and their families in homes were attended to.