Justice not done, says anguished father; promise of compensation was ‘just to hoodwink people’
Srinagar: A General Security Forces Court in Srinagar has declared Commandant Randhir Kumar Birdi and Constable Lakhwinder Kumar of 68 BN BSF not guilty of the killing of Zahid Farooq Sheikh, a teenager who lived in Brein Nishat, during the 2010 uprising. But the court held both Birdi and Kumar guilty in five other charges.
In its punishment, the court ordered that the rank and precedence of Commandant Randhir Kumar Birdi be taken away, and 5 years of his service be forfeited for the purpose of pension.
The other accused, Lakhwinder Kumar, was to forfeit 3 years of his service for the purpose of promotion and pension.
The case had moved from the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar to the Forces Court after the Director-General (DG) of the BSF claimed the case. The proceedings initiated against the accused were set aside and became null and void after the case moved to the court.
Farooq Ahmed Sheikh, father of the slain teenager, said justice had not been done. “I am sorry for my son that I couldn’t bring his killers to justice. For the past seven years I had been fighting in every court but I have got no justice.
This was bound to happen as the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) enjoyed by these security forces in Kashmir gives them licence to kill and no one can hold them accountable for gruesome killings,” Sheikh said.
Though the government had appointed court commissions for compensating families of children killed by government forces during the 2010 uprising and had ordered a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a job to the family, Sheikh said that his family had received none of this.
“Yes, compensation and job was ordered for five families of kids killed in 2010, but till now we have not received any such compensation. These are only fake promises to hoodwink people,” said Sheikh.
Sheikh was recently operated for a tumour. He said he misses his only son everyday and it is hard to survive without him. “I want to tell them (government forces) that justice will be meted to them and that day is not far,” he said.
Zahid, the killed boy, had gone out with his friends to play cricket on February 5, 2010, when a BSF contingent opened fire on the children, killing Zahid on the spot. Following Zahid’s killing, police, under intense public pressure, registered a case under FIR no 04/2010 under Sections 302/109, 201 of RPC at Police Station Nishat.
Locals re-named the square outside the Sheikh house as “Shaheed Zahid Chowk”. The name has been inscribed in green English letters on all walls and electric poles surrounding the square.