BSF officer suspended over Kashmir teenager’s killing

Srinagar, Feb 13 (IANS) A senior Border Security Force (BSF) officer in Jammu and Kashmir was suspended Saturday and a court of inquiry ordered after allegations that the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy at Nishat on Feb 5 took place on his orders.

Commanding officer (CO) of the 68 battalion, R.K. Birdi, has been suspended, said an official source.

The suspension follows a statement by an arrested BSF trooper Lakhwinder Kumar that he had fired at the teenager on Birdi’s orders. Kumar was suspended by the BSF following an in-house enquiry which found him involved in the shooting of Zahid Farooq Sheikh.

During questioning Kumar revealed that he had only followed the orders of his boss and fired three bullets from his automatic rifle, one of which hit Zahid on the chest. The teenager died while being taken to hospital.

The sources said Kumar told police officers questioning him that he had no option but to fire as he was under the orders of his CO.

Zahid’s father had earlier challenged the version of the BSF and said it was the CO who had fired at the group of youths on that fateful afternoon.

Quoting an eyewitness, Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, father of Zahid, said that the CO of the BSF had snatched the rifle from a trooper and fired at his son.

BSF authorities have moved Birdi to Srinagar from his present posting on the Line of Control for questioning.

The state government has also set up a time bound enquiry headed by the Kashmir divisional commissioner which is likely to submit its report next week.

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