An 11-year-old boy who was set on fire allegedly within a high security military garrison in Hyderabad died of 90 per cent burns today. Before dying, the police said, Syed Mustafa told a magistrate that some “military men” burnt him.
Mustafa lived with his parents, three brothers and a sister in Siddiqnagar within the garrison in Mehdipatnam, which is a restricted area and allows visitors only with special passes.
As his body was taken away, his mother Shaker Bano wailed repeatedly, “My son was burnt alive…”
The police allege that kerosene was poured on the boy and he was set on fire on Wednesday afternoon, a little before 3 pm. A soft drink bottle with traces of kerosene and matches were found at the spot where the boy was allegedly burnt.
The army has denied the involvement of its personnel.
“On investigation, it is found that the allegation is absolutely false and no army personnel is involved in this incident. The army condemns this act,” an army statement said.
A large number of policemen in riot-control gear were posted near the garrison to avoid a flare-up as angry residents protested against the alleged killing.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao announced Rs. 5 lakh for the family as his government kept a watchful eye on Mehdipatnam.
“The police have to investigate in a very strong manner. Last night, over 1,000 people came to the roads. We have to control emotions,” Hyderabad Mayor Majid Hussain said.
Police chief Mahender Reddy said it is not known who attacked the boy and why.
Army officers say they share a good rapport with some 200 families who stay within the garrison and cannot believe that any of their men could have burnt the boy.
“We are assisting the police in the investigations since the incident took place in the Army area,” an army spokesperson said in Delhi.