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Teenager murder: Cops question 10 BSF jawans

February 15, 2010 23:54 IST

The Jammu and Kashmir police on Monday questioned some Border Security Force personnel to ascertain the series of events that led to the killing of a teenaged boy, which triggered widespread protests in Srinagar.

At least 10 BSF jawans were interrogated by the police about different events that led to the killing of 16-year-old Zahid Farooq Shah at Brain-Nishat, who was allegedly shot dead by constable Lakhwinder Kumar, official sources said.

The constable is understood to have told the Jammu and Kashmir police that he had opened fire under the orders of Commandant R K Birdi, which the latter has denied. Following Kumar's allegation, the Union home ministry has issued suspension order for Birdi, Commandant of the 68th Battalion, who has been confined to the local headquarters, pending an inquiry by an officer of the rank of inspector general. Shah was shot dead on February 5 at Brain-Nishat.

Kumar has already been placed under suspension. The force has kept all its personnel who were present during the time of the incident, including the Commandant, at separate centres during the period of General Court of Enquiry being conducted by the paramilitary force. The step was taken so that the probe doesn't get hampered.

Kumar has been sent to eight-day police remand by the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Srinagar on February 11. Shah's killing was strongly protested by the local people, who demanded stringent action against the guilty.

Shops, business establishments, banks, courts and private offices remained closed and vehicles remained off the roads for six days.

The family of the slain teenager has already accused the BSF of making the constable a scapegoat to save a senior officer.

"We are not satisfied with the arrest of the constable, as eyewitnesses told us that an officer of the force actually shot Zahid in the chest after snatching the rifle from one of the jawans," Farooq Ahmad, father of the victim, had said.

The state government has also ordered a probe into the incident and said stern action would be taken against the guilty.

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