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Killing of Kashmiri boy: BSF commandant under scanner

February 12, 2010 | By

Srinagar (February 13, 2010): As per news reported from Srinagar by various sections of media on 12 February, 2010 it is suspected that a senior BSF officer may have ordered his junior constable to fire on  16- year old Nishat teenager, Zahid Farooq, whose killing earlier this month triggered Valley-wide protests.

The BSF earlier this week admitted that one its men, Constable Lakhvinder Kumar of 68 battalion was involved in Zahid’s killing and handed him over to JK Police for further investigations.

However, a New Delhi based news channel NDTV on Friday said, “The BSF Commandant R K Birdi forced Constable Lakhvinder Kumar to shoot thrice at Zahid.”

“The accused constable has claimed before the police that he was forced by his senior to shoot the teenager,” the wire agency PTI reported.

It said the claim made by the BSF trooper was being corroborated and some of its officials, including Commandant, R K Birdi, may be questioned.

The police have registered a case of murder but their real investigation, according to the sources, is focused on whether the constable fired on his own, or took orders from his commandant. “The Commanding Officer of the 68th Battalion of the BSF concealed the incident for five days until an internal probe was ordered due to relentless protests and Union home Ministry’s directive to cooperate with the JK police.”

The Special Director General of BSF, PPS Sidhu, while addressing the media here earlier this week had admitted that BSF had no information about the involvement of their men till the inquiry was ordered.

The BSF initially denied any role in the killing, but were forced to admit what happened under pressure from Home Minister P Chidambaram and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Pertinently, on February 5, Zahid and his friends were on their way home after their cricket game in Nishat area was rained out. They came across three BSF vehicles, which stopped near them. Troopers got down and fired three direct shots towards the teenagers killing Zahid on the spot.

After the BSF admitted that one of its constables killed Zahid, his family did not agree. It 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 eye-witnesses told us that an officer of the force actually shot Zahid in the chest after snatching the rifle from one of his subordinates,” victim’s father, Farooq Ahmad had said.

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