India admits soldier shot dead Kashmir boy / PHOTO

India's border guards said on Wednesday one of their soldiers had shot dead an innocent boy in Kashmir last week.

India admits soldier shot dead Kashmir boy / PHOTO

India's border guards said on Wednesday one of their soldiers had shot dead an innocent boy in Kashmir last week, in a rare confession by troops after anti-India protests over the death roiled the disputed region.

Doctors said 17-year-old Zahid Farooq, who was the second teenager to be killed in a week, had suffered bullet wounds in his chest.
 

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"An inquiry has revealed prima facie the possibility of constable Lakhwinder Singh being involved in the incident," Border Security Force director general P.S. Sodhi told reporters.

"Exemplary punishment will be given to the person so that such crimes are not repeated in the future," Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir state, later told reporters.

The region was already in uproar over the killing of 14-year-old Wamiq Farooq by a police tear-gas shell on January 31, and the latest death has fuelled anger against Indian security forces.

The government has banned the assembly of more than four people in Srinagar but it has been unable to contain the protests in Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan.

In the past, government forces in Kashmir have been accused of killing civilians during protests and in staged gun battles by passing them off as pro-freedom fighters, charges security forces have mostly denied.

Last year a judicial probe into the alleged rape and murder of two women, which also triggered massive protests across Kashmir, pointed to the involvement of police. But so far no police official has been identified or punished for the crime.


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Indian troops have rarely accepted their involvement in civilian deaths which have almost always sparked protests.

Authorities did not give the circumstances under which the boy was shot last week. Locals and human rights activists claim he was the sixth civilian killed by police or soldiers in over a month.

More than a dozen groups have fought Indian forces since 1989, seeking independence for the Muslim-majority state or its merger with Pakistan.

In 1948, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for a referendum for Kashmir to determine whether the Himalayan region should be part of India and Pakistan. Kashmiris say fight against India since it rejected to hold referendum in Kashmiri territory.


Agencies

Last Mod: 11 Şubat 2010, 12:10
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