BSF Suspends Officer Over Boy Death13 February 2010
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
Srinagar: A BSF commandant was today suspended for “concealing” from his higher-ups last week’s death of a teenager in firing by the force. A court of inquiry has also been constituted to probe R.K. Birdi’s role in the killing. Kashmir has been rocked by protests after the death of Zahid Farooq, 16, in BSF firing on February 5, an incident the force had denied earlier because Birdi had allegedly not reported it to his seniors. A BSF constable, Lakhwinder, has been arrested for allegedly firing at Zahid after a group of youths jeered at a BSF patrol. “Birdi has been suspended because he did not report the incident. He has been removed from his command. An inspector-general of the BSF will head the probe against him,” a BSF official said. “His suspension does not mean he is involved in the murder.” Police said Birdi may have been suspended because he had ordered the firing. “When the BSF admitted on February 10 that one of its constables had shot the youth dead, it was amply clear that the officer did not report the incident to his higher-ups. But no action was taken then. He was suspended after his subordinates alleged he had forced the constable to shoot the boy,” a police official said. The Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered a probe into the firing. Police sources said they had questioned 12 BSF personnel who were part of Birdi’s convoy on Thursday. “The BSF personnel have told interrogators the officer (Birdi) had snatched the rifle from Lakhwinder, cocked it and returned it to the constable, asking him to shoot at the fleeing youth. The constable was initially reluctant but later obeyed the order,” a police official said.