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Was it suicide or murder?

While authorities exhume the body of an Army jawan buried nine days ago, kin contest Army claim, reports Man Aman Singh Chhina.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2007 03:43 IST
Man Aman Singh Chhina
Man Aman Singh Chhina
Hindustan Times

District authorities on Thursday exhumed the body of an Army jawan buried nine days ago in this village in Punjab. Naik Suleman’s family had contested the Army’s claim that he had committed suicide while serving in Jammu and Kashmir.

District officials, accompanied by a team of doctors and police officers on Thursday supervised the process of digging up Suleman’s body.

The jawan had served in the 152 Territorial Army Infantry Battalion (Sikh). A board of five doctors has been constituted at Civil Hospital, Rupnagar, to conduct a post mortem and ascertain whether the wounds on his body are self inflicted.

Suleman’s family was informed that he had committed suicide while serving in the 16 Corps Battle School in Doda on August 13. The jawan’s mother Majedin and wife Sarbjeet Kaur said a group of jawans led by a Junior Commissioned Officer brought his body to the village on the night of August 14 and rushed them into burying him.

The family does not believe the Army’s version that the jawan shot himself with his service rifle. Photographs taken by them show his body has two gunshot wounds—one in the jaw and the other in the stomach. The jawan’s family members have told police and district officials that from the wounds on the body, it appears Suleman was shot from behind.

Lt Col NK Ghai (retd), whom Suleman’s family contacted, says the jawan could not have shot himself twice to commit suicide.

Suleman’s family has also complained that the Army did not conduct a post-mortem on his body.

Army spokesperson for the 16 Corps in Nagrota near Jammu Lt Col SD Goswami said he could comment on the issue only after speaking to the officers of the unit concerned.

First Published: Aug 24, 2007 03:38 IST