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Police to question BSF officer over Kashmir teen’s killing

Srinagar, Feb 13 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir police is likely to question a senior Border Security Force (BSF) officer after an arrested trooper said that he had ‘followed the orders of his boss’ and fatally shot a 17-year-old boy at Nishat on Feb 5.

A police officer here said Saturday that the commanding officer (CO) of the 68 battalion, R.K. Birdi, will be called for questioning in a day or two.

State police had arrested the BSF trooper, Lakhwinder Kumar, Wednesday after he was suspended by the BSF following an in-house enquiry which found him involved in the shooting of Zahid Farooq Sheikh.

Highly placed sources here said that 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.

‘We are mulling questioning the CO following the disclosure of the trooper and 13 other BSF soldiers who were in the three-vehicle convoy,’ the officer said.

BSF authorities have moved Birdi to Srinagar from his present posting on the Line of Control so that he can be present as and when the police needs him for questioning in the case.

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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