Chennai: Boy dies after army jawans ’open fire’ for trespassing

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Chennai, 03 July 2011: A 13-year-old boy today died of bullet injuries, after being allegedly shot by army personnel while trespassing into their premises, triggering protests from locals.


The Army, however, denied the allegation that its personnel shot at Dilshan when he tried to pluck some fruits from the residential quarters in the premises.


The boy later succumbed to injuries at a government hospital, police said. Mystery shrouded the teenager’s death as an Army spokesperson said there was no armed guard inside the Island Ground colony near Tamil Nadu secretariat, virtually ruling out the force’s hand in the firing.


A case has been registered and the city police as well as the Military Police are investigating the incident, army sources said.


Irate residents staged a protest demanding action against those responsible for the incident after the family of the boy alleged that he had been shot in the head.


Meanwhile, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa alleged army personnel’s role in the boy’s death and announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to his family.


Strongly condemning the firing at the teenager, the Chief Minister said the jawan could have easily made out that the boy was "not an extremist or a terrorist."


"This is not acceptable," she said, adding her government has written to the General Officer Commanding here to hand over the guilty jawan to the state police for further investigation.


Earlier, Dilshan was admitted to the ICU of a government hospital here even as irate residents strongly protested against the incident.


After a minor scuffle with the protesters, in which a policeman was injured, police used canes to disperse the angry crowd.


The army termed the incident as "very unfortunate," and said it would not allow the guilty to go scot free.


"We have constituted a board of officers to carry out a proper search of the area including the houses adjoining the scene of the incident. The process of search is going on in detail," Brigadier (Administration) Sashi Nair told reporters.


He said sniffer dogs have been deployed and officials from the forensic department were already on the job.


"In our colony here and in fact in all our colonies we don’t have any armed guard. Even if you see now at the main gate, we have outsourced (the security) to civilians. They have only a stick in their hand. There is no weapon that is authorised to come into any of these colonies," he said, dismissing allegations by the boy’s relatives that the army had opened fire at him.


Nair said checking was being done all over the place and no weapon was found in the colony so far. The entire area has been cordoned off and none is being allowed to go out.


"In this colony there is no armed guard. Whether a civilian has shot (at the boy), whether an army man has shot, whether a policeman has shot, I cannot comment at this stage...," he said, expressing regret over this incident.


Earlier, Additional Police Commissioner (Law and Order) P Thamaraikannan said a case had been registered and investigations were on.


Asked if the army had shot at the boy, he said it was being investigated. At the same time, he said that action will be taken against those responsible for the incident.



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