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JK: Soldier kills himself

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
March 27, 2007 22:27 IST
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A soldier guarding the army's headquarters in the Valley killed himself on Tuesday while manning a light machine gun post.

The trooper, identified as Sauran Singh of the Dogra Regiment, posted inside the army's 15 Corps headquarters in the Badami Bagh cantonment of Srinagar shot himself using his service weapon.

"He died on the spot and an inquiry has now been ordered to ascertain the reasons for the trooper's suicide," defence spokesman Lt Col A K Mathur said.

Suicides and fratricidal shootouts have occurred sporadically in Jammu and Kashmir during the last 17 years.

The top brass of the army and paramilitary forces are grappling with the problem and a number of steps have already been taken to ascertain the reasons and address them.

Better service conditions, regular periodic leaves to the deployed soldiers so that they join their families and also better interactions between the field commanders and the rank and file under them are some of the steps.

Counsellors have also been engaged to suggest remedial measures to check the growing incidents.

Recently a trooper was sentenced to death by a general summary court martial for killing his commanding officer inside a camp at Harwan on the outskirts of summer capital Srinagar.

The capital punishment handed down to the soldier is the first of its kind in the country since Independence.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar