M A I N   N E W S

Teen’s Death
BSF suspends CO
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 13
The Border Security Force (BSF) on Saturday suspended the Commandant of 68th Battalion in connection with the alleged killing of teenager Zahid Farooq here on February 5. An inquiry has also been ordered into the circumstances that led to the killing, allegedly at the hands of a constable.

Commandant RK Birdi, posted at Nishat, was suspended for not reporting the incident to the higher authorities in time and for lack of command over his troops. Sources revealed that the suspension orders had come yesterday, two days after BSF Director General PPS Sidhu had admitted the “possible involvement” of Constable Lakhwinder Singh. He has already been suspended and handed over to the police.

PPS, accompanied by the Kashmir Frontier Inspector General Baljit Singh had here on Wednesday stated that the constable had been identified on the basis of certain “crucial information” received only a day earlier. There were some others accompanying the constable at the time of the incident who were also being questioned, the Sidhu had said on Wednesday.

The investigation team is also questioning 15-odd BSF personnel accompanying the accused at the time of the incident. “As and when their presence is required by the police in connection with the investigations, they are being produced,” a BSF officer said. The killing of 16-year-old Zahid Farooq in Srinagar, five days after another teen - Wamiq Farooq - was shot dead in the downtown area, triggered massive protests in Kashmir, prompting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to order an inquiry by the Divisional Commissioner. Shah was killed on February five at Brain near Nishat on the banks of the Dal Lake and according to the eyewitnesses there was an altercation following which the shooting incident took place.

PTI adds: Fourteen other men of the 68th Battalion have also been suspended. Commandant RK Birdi has been confined to the local headquarters.



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