Two high school students were killed and three injured when a policeman fired a rifle thinking it was not loaded during a police weapon demonstration in Andhra Pradesh's coastal Khammam district on Wednesday.
The police were giving a demonstration of weapons and communication devices used by them to combat Maoists in the northeastern coastal district, which borders Maoist-affected Malkangiri district of neighbouring Orissa.
The light automatic rifle went off when a police constable picked it up to demonstrate how it works to students of the Zilla Parishad High School who had gathered there.
The constable was not aware that the carbine was fully loaded, the police said.
Two students — Medepalli Venkatkrishna (16) and Pasumarthy Satya Sai Babu (13) — died on the spot. They were in front of the constable and were received bullets in the stomach, the police said. The other three students who were injured were rushed to the district government hospital and are reported to be out of danger.
The district administration has ordered a probe.
DGP Aravinda Rao said the constable was supposed to be carrying a loaded weapon but he was not meant to be in the area where the students were being given a demonstration.
He said this appeared to have happened because of the overenthusiasm of the constable.
"It was unfortunate and stupid on his part," he said, adding disciplinary action would be taken against him.
The event at Velerupadu village, 370 km north of Hyderabad, was part of the police commemoration week.
(With agency inputs)