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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 14:45 GMT
Death sentence for Indian soldier
Indian soldiers taking a break between fighting militants in Indian-administered Kashmir
Low morale is seen as a key problem in the Indian army
An Indian military court has sentenced a soldier to death for killing his commanding officer.

SC Behra was found guilty of murdering Lt-Col Saket Saxena on 31 October last year in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The sentence must be upheld by the army chief, after which the soldier can still appeal in a civil court.

Such shootings have risen in the state in recent years, blamed on fatigue and stress. In 2006, 32 soldiers were killed by comrades across India.

More than 100 took their own lives in the same year, the army says.

Observers say poor service conditions, inadequate home leave, low pay and a communication gap with superiors all contribute to low morale in the million-strong force.

Reports say troops in Indian-administered Kashmir, who have been fighting separatist militants since 1989, suffer high levels of psychological trauma.

Defence Minister AK Antony has expressed concern over the increasing number of soldiers taking their lives and killing themselves or others.


SEE ALSO
Indian army's biggest enemy - stress
14 Dec 06 |  South Asia
Indian soldier 'shoots himself'
18 Dec 06 |  South Asia
Indian soldier turns on colleagues
11 Feb 02 |  South Asia
Indian soldier slays five colleagues
10 Sep 01 |  South Asia
Kashmir soldier kills colleagues
18 Mar 00 |  South Asia

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