Indian soldier in Kashmir kills five sleeping comrades, then himself

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 February, 2014, 2:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 February, 2014, 11:31pm

A soldier armed with two automatic weapons shot dead five of his colleagues early yesterday as they slept before killing himself in restive Indian Kashmir.

The soldier, who was on night duty, walked into the barracks and opened fire at a military camp 20 kilometres north of the region's main city, Srinagar.

Another soldier who was injured told police what happened before being taken to hospital.

Inquiries will try to determine what sparked the incident in Safapora village, including whether the soldier was stressed.

The killer was a member of a counter-insurgency force called the Rashtriya Rifles posted to the heavily militarised Himalayan region and charged with tracking down suspected militants.

Since 1989, Indian forces have been fighting at least a dozen militant groups seeking independence or the merger of the territory with Pakistan. The fighting has left tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, dead.

Several similar incidents have occurred in the past in the region, including one in 2011 when an Indian soldier killed four of his comrades after an altercation in a camp in Anantnag district.

Although reasons for the shootings are not yet known, a defence expert said such soldiers, already working in a tense and hostile environment, were sometimes also badly managed by their superiors.

They can be denied leave for long periods, increasing resentment and piling on the pressure.

Two Indian navy officers missing after submarine accident found dead

Two Indian naval officers who went missing after a submarine accident off the coast of Mumbai have been found dead. The incident on Wednesday on board the Russian-built INS Sindhuratna, the latest in a string of naval mishaps, also left seven crew members injured and led the chief of naval staff to resign.

Navy chief D. K. Joshi said on Wednesday he was standing down to take "moral responsibility" for recent accidents.

The seven crew members were airlifted to hospital with breathing problems after smoke began to fill the living quarters of the submarine during a training exercise.

The accident follows a disaster in August last year in which 18 sailors were killed when the submarine INS Sindhurakshak exploded and sank in a military shipyard in Mumbai.

Agence France-Presse