A 13-year-old boy was today shot dead allegedly by an army jawan as he tried to trespass into a defence area in Chennai.
The incident occurred at the Island Grounds area that houses army residential quarters. The boy, Dilshan, was rushed to a nearby government hospital, but did not survive. Dilshan's family alleged that he had been shot in the head when he went to the area to pick some fruit.
Angry residents staged a protest against the shooting. Police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd.
City Additional Commissioner (Law and Order) P Thamaraikannan said that a case has been registered and investigations are on into the incident. Asked whether army personnel had indeed opened fire on the boy, he said it was being investigated.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa condemned the killing of 13-year-old Dilshan, declaring, "This is unacceptable. Armymen could have easily found out that these are boys, not terrorists." Jayalalithaa also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the boy's family.The Tamil Nadu government has asked the Army to handover the killers to the state police.
A senior Army official expressed doubts over the involvement of army personnel in the firing, claiming there were no armed guard in the entire complex.
"It is not correct to say something till we find out the truth. High-ranking police officials are already looking into the issue. It is an unfortunate incident," Brigadier (Administration) Sashi Nair told reporters.
He said the entire complex did not have any armed guards and the security had been outsourced and even those personnel have only sticks to ward off trespassers.
Nair said while some children were walking on the pavement, one of them "probably" tried to pluck something.
"These children are said to have heard gun shots. They immediately ran away and brought their parents who saw the boy with a bullet injury on his head," he added.
"We have cordoned off the entire area. We have not allowed any one to go out of the army complex. We don't want to hide anything and will bring the guilty to book. We are extremely worried about the incident," he said.
Sources also added that a joint operation with the local police was on to find the offender. Police have cordoned off a stretch of the area, adjacent to Fort St George, which houses the state secretariat.(With PTI inputs)