Border Security Force Commandant R K Birdi, who is alleged to have ordered a constable to shoot a youngster in Srinagar last week, was on Saturday suspended along with 14 other personnel of his battalion over the killing that triggered strong protests in the city.
Acting on the recommendations of the BSF, the Union home ministry today issued the suspension orders of Birdi, the Commandant of 68th Battalion, and confined him to the local headquarters, pending an inquiry by an officer of the rank of inspector general.
As per rules, action against a Commandant-level officer can be taken only under orders of the home ministry. The action against Birdi came in the wake of statements reportedly made by Constable Lakhwinder Kumar, who had allegedly opened fire on 16-year-old Zahid Farooq Shah.
The constable is understood to have told the Jammu and Kashmir police that he had opened fire under the orders of the Commandant, which the latter has denied. The BSF has kept all the 15 personnel, who were present during the time of the incident, including the Commandant, at separate centres during the period of General Court of Enquiry being conducted by the paramilitary force.
The step was taken so that the probe does not get hampered. Shah was killed on February 5 at Brain near Nishat on the banks of the Dal Lake and according to eyewitnesses, there was an altercation, following which the shooting incident took place.
The police haves examined some of the personnel of the BSF who were part of the team when the incident took place.
The police have registered a case of murder and the probe will ascertain whether the constable fired on his own or took orders from the Commandant.
Director General of BSF Raman Srivastava has ordered a Staff Court of Inquiry in the matter and deputed its Inspector General (Tripura) Ramesh Singh to head the fact-finding mission.
Srivastava also held a meeting with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today morning and assured him that the paramilitary force will leave no stone unturned to bring out the truth.