Describing teenager Zahid Farooq’s killing as a “sensitive” matter, Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday asked the state government and the BSF to “thoroughly” prepare their arguments as the case would be considered a “virgin” one.
Farooq was killed in a firing incident by the troops of 68 Battalion of BSF on February 5 this year, which led to widespread protests and five days of shutdown in the Valley.
Justice J.P. Singh, while hearing the criminal revision petition filed by the state against the transfer of the case to BSF court by Chief Judicial Magistrate of Srinagar, asked the Additional Advocate General of State Ali Mohammad Magray and Assistant Solicitor General of India S.A. Makroo to prepare their arguments thoroughly.
“I want seriousness as the issue to be raised (in the instant case) is virgin,” Justice Singh observed while adjourning the court till third week of January.
Mr. Magray and Mr. Makroo told the court it was to ascertain whether the accused BSF Commandant R K Birdhi and Constable Lakhvinder Kumar were on “active duty” when 16-year-old Zahid Farooq was shot dead in Nishat area earlier this year.
The state government had on December 2 filed a criminal revision petition in the High Court against the order passed by the CJM Srinagar on November 25, which had held the accused BSF personnel to be on “active duty” at the time of the incident by virtue of a notification issued by the Centre and was to be tried in the General Security Forces Court.
However, the High Court stayed the GSFC proceedings pending the outcome of the revision petition.
Justice Singh observed that a mere notification will not mean “active duty”, while rejecting the plea of Mr. Makroo that BSF be allowed to carry out the GSFC proceedings against the accused personnel in the meantime.
While Kumar was handed over to police in February, Birdhi surrendered before the police in March this year.