South Asia News
Indian paramilitary admits to shooting teenager in Kashmir (Roundup)
Feb 10, 2010, 11:32 GMT
Srinagar, Kashmir - India's Border Security Force admitted Wednesday that one of its troopers shot dead a 16-year-old schoolboy, an incident that led to protests in India-administered Kashmir.
Senior official PPS Sandhu said a soldier named Lakhwinder Kumar was involved in Friday's killing of Zahid Farooq Sheikh in the state capital Srinagar.
Local media said it was a rare admission by an Indian security force in the region. Indian troopers are often accused by the Muslim-majority population of human rights violations.
'Evidence points to the involvement of Lakhwinder Kumar, a soldier from the 68th Battalion of the BSF, in the death of Zahid Farooq Sheikh here Friday,' Sandhu told a press conference in Srinagar.
Preliminary investigations revealed that Zahid had died from a bullet fired at him by the soldier from an AK-47 rifle.
'The soldier has been placed under suspension,' Sandhu said. 'We have decided to hand him over to the local police for further investigations.'
The PTI news agency reported that officers in the paramilitary force called the killing an accident.
Srinagar and other major towns in Kashmir were tense after a public outcry over the killing.
Hundreds of residents participated in protest marches as angry mobs hurled stones at police and security forces in Srinagar.
The city police said a case of murder had been registered against the soldier. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said his government wanted the harshest possible punishment.
'Investigators are preparing a water-tight case and we will try and ensure that the harshest possible punishment is handed to the individual under the laws of the land,' Abdullah said.
Large numbers of soldiers have been deployed in Kashmir to check militancy and terrorist attacks.
More than 45,000 people have died in the Kashmir region since a separatist movement launched an insurgency in the 1980s. The victims include civilians, police, soldiers as well as militants.