BSF officer surrenders, arrested
Charged With Murder, Sent To Police Remand
Srinagar, Mar 4: The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday arrested the suspended Commanding Officer, Randhir Kumar Birdi, of 68 battalion of paramilitary BSF on charges of murder of a Nishat teenager, Zahid Farooq. He was sent to 2-days police remand by a local court.
“The BSF Commandant (R K Birdi) has been formally arrested in connection with the killing of Zahid Farooq. The investigation is going on,” said a report submitted by police before a local court here.
Pertinently, police had arrested the BSF constable Lakhvinder Kumar on February 10, who had fired at Zahid on February 5 on the city outskirts resulting in the teenager’s death. However, Kumar during questioning by the Special Investigation of Team (SIT) had revealed that he was “forced” by his commandant to open fire.
“Birdi had instigated Kumar to fire following which Kumar fired two rounds from his service rifle, one of which hit Zahid Farooq Sheikh alias Shoiab son of Farooq Ahmad Sheikh who later succumbed to his injuries,” the SIT report said. After Zahid’s murder, the Police Station, Nishat, had registered a case FIR No 04/2010 U/S 302 RPC (murder). Later sections 109 RPC R/W 302 RPC were added to the case in respect of R K Birdi, the report mentioned. The report goes on to add that on February 5, the accused commandant after undergoing medical examination at composite hospital STC, BSF, Humhama (Budgam) was returning to battalion headquarters at Nishat along with his escort party comprising three vehicles when they stopped at Boulevard near Laam village, Brein.
“There was some road block and the commandant alighted from the vehicle. The BSF men found some boys jeering upon them and in order to disperse them the CO along with his escort party chased them along the Kucha road leading to Laam. During this process the boys pelted stones on the BSF party. R K Birdi who was leading the party instigated Lakhvinder Kumar to open fire,” the report added.
The Senior Superintendent (SSP) of Police, Javaid Riyaz Bedar, who is heading the SIT, told Greater Kashmir that Police had on number of occasions written to BSF to produce Birdi as he was required in the case for further investigation. “He was handed over to police today,” Bedar said.
Earlier today Birdi’s counsel, Moulvi Aijaz told media persons outside the Kothi Bagh Police Station that he had presented his client before the SIT.
“The SIT has levelled many allegations against him (Birdi),” Aijaz said.
Zahid was shot at and severely injured after he was hit by bullets fired by BSF constable Lakhvinder near Brein Nishat on February 5. He was rushed to SK Institute of Medical Science here where doctors declared him brought dead. The killing had evoked massive protests across the Valley. Under pressure, the Omar Abdullah government had taken up Zahid’s killing with Home Minister P Chidambaram and it was only after the latter’s intervention that the BSF had admitted having “accidentally” killed 16-year old Zahid.
Addressing a press conference here on February 10, the BSF Special Director General PPS Sidhu had said that an internal inquiry by the BSF found constable Lakhvinder Kumar to be involved in the killing. Kumar was later arrested by the police.
However, Birdi’s name surfaced when Kumar told SIT that the Commandant had “provoked” him to open fire on Zahid. Two other BSF troopers questioned by the police had deposed before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate that Birdi had provoked Kumar to shoot at Zahid.
Even the family of the slain teenager had accused the BSF of making the constable a scapegoat to save a senior officer.
PDP DEMANDS OPEN COURT TRIAL
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has hailed Union Home Minister P Chidambaram for responding positively to the sentiments of people and demanded that after the arrest of the BSF Commandant, he should take this to the logical conclusion.
Speaking to media during a welcome ceremony to the leaders, who joined PDP, Mehbooba said: ” I think, you know, Home minister has responded positively to the sentiments of the people and he has initiated a process. And we hope that it is taken to it’s logical conclusion and the person involved in Nishat teenager’s killing is tried in court of law,” said Mehbooba.
Demanding that the accused be tried in an open court instead of Court Martial, Mehbooba said, ” People should know, you know finally the person has got punishment for what he has done. Whatever punishment he gets it should come to the knowledge of the people. So I would prefer that Home Minister takes it to the logical conclusion by allowing the normal courts to try this person rather than going for Court Martial, because we really don’t know what happens to the Court Martials.”
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 5 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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