In yet another case of fratricidal killing in the troubled Kashmir valley, a soldier shot dead five of his colleagues in their sleep and then killed himself on early Wednesday morning.
"A soldier of a Rashtriya Rifles unit ran amok in the wee hours, killing five soldier before killing himself," said Lt Col NN Joshi, public relations officer of the army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps.
"The deaths of the jawans took place inside the army camp of 13 Rashtriya Rifles at Safapora," Joshi added.
Rashtriya Rifles is the army's main counterinsurgency force in Jammu and Kashmir. Its soldiers are drawn from various units. About 80,000 soldiers of this force are stationed in dozens of camps, orchards and private and government buildings in the state.
While the army refused to give more details about the incident, it was learnt Ramber Singh, who was posted on sentry duty at the camp, entered one of the barracks at around 2am and started firing indiscriminately at his sleeping colleagues. Singh later killed himself.
Indian army soldiers stand alongside an ambulance carrying the bodies of soldiers killed inside a army camp at Safapora some 20 kms (12 miles) from Srinagar (AFP photo)
The other dead soldiers have been identified as Amit Kumar of 12 Kumaon, Lance Naik Tabruq Ansari of 278 Field Regiment, Sepoy Surinder Singh of 2 Kumaon, Rifleman MR Ajinath of 36 Medical Regiment and Rifleman Rajput Joni of 278 Field Regiment.
The local police officials in the area refused to comment on the incident but said the investigation will start only after the post mortem examination of the bodies is completed.
Since the anti-India insurgency broke out in 1989, dozens of soldiers have died in fratricidal shootings, while scores have committed suicide in the state.
Medics leave an army camp after conducting a post-mortem examination on the bodies of five soldiers killed inside a army camp at Safapora some 20 kms (12 miles) from Srinagar (AFP photo)
Stress levels are high among the armed forces, especially in the valley, where they have to work amidst a hostile civilian population over extended periods away from their families.
There were 635 cases of suicide or attempted suicide in the armed forces from 2003 to 2007, all "attributable to increased stress environment leading to psychological imbalance in the soldiers", a parliamentary committee said in a 2010 report.
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