Srinagar, July 18: As injured from Ramban were rushed to various hospitals in Kashmir, our correspondent Ieshan Wani spoke to two witnesses, who were wounded, in the gory firing, and are being treated at SMHS hospital. Excerpts:
[Name: Nazir Ahmad, Occupation: Railway employee]
Name: Nazir Ahmad, Occupation: Railway employee
IW: Not many clear details are pouring in about the incident..
NA: The BSF personnel picked up Quran and ripped them off and threw them under their feet. With their boots on they created havoc inside the Quranic School late night at 10:45 pm. The caretaker of the school was reading Quran when he was beaten up and mercilessly dragged outside. Then when the news reached the people they could not tolerate this, it was painful to even hear it. People gathered to protest against this highhandedness of BSF which is in the area to protect the railway lines. It was shocking that they started to fire indiscriminately at the crowds of people without any consideration. The public had assembled and there was sloganeering going on and it was not tolerable for Muslims, but there was no violent instigation or anything from people’s side. After sloganeering, they sat down peacefully outside of the BSF camp, and then they started firing at the people. The police was present in huge numbers, we were terrified to see their numbers and they are equally responsible for the blood bath. The police knew from the beginning that the locals want the BSF sitting in those quarters guarding the railway lines must leave the area. If they have done this to our Holy Quran, we (locals) will never let them stay in our area. Police responded to us by saying that ‘BSF has left the area’. This happened before some of the people wanted to go to the BSF quarters to check if they really have left and in retaliation the BSF opened fire indiscriminately on them and then on all of the others.
I was one of the people heading towards the BSF bunker outside the quarter and the BSF personnel started to shoot at me, I ducked down and the person behind me received a bullet in his abdomen. As much as I could see, there were four BSF men outside and a whole contingent inside the barracks. The local police did not do anything, they looked on while we were being beaten and killed.
IW: Did anyone try and help with the causalities?
NA: We were a procession of around 5000 people and then we ourselves helped lifting up the injured and the dead bodies. No one came to our help. Sham-u-din Giri, who is a local leader, gave us his own car to rescue many of us. His personal car actually worked as our ambulance and even water and amenities carrier. The local construction company helped us by sending their ambulances but local police did absolutely nothing at all. I saw with my own eyes the DC said to the BSF, “Kill them! There is no problem as many of them die, it doesn’t matter.” Nine people were killed and their bodies are piled at the police station and around forty people are injured. The DC is from outside Kashmir and he started this killing and the SP, I heard said that it is not his mistake, it is the mistake of our Minister from that area, also an MLA and he has given an green signal to him for killing the people.
IW: Now they say about the compensation?
NA: Do you think we are mad people, who takes compensation for protecting Allah’s word, those who died today they are Shaheed (martyrs), why should I take money for that? I am thinking my wound gets stitched up, I will again flock to the same place and protest. Can I tolerate something like this? And the book you grow up with, you see being trampled upon, what will you do in that case?
[Name: Mohammad Amin Wani Occupation: Operator in Mechanical Division, Anantnag]
Name: Mohammad Amin Wani Occupation: Operator in Mechanical Division, Anantnag
IW: Not many clear details are available about the incident?
MAW: The previous night news started to spread like wild fire in our area, people said that the Holy Quran was desecrated and disrespected by Indian army. Today morning the announcement from the local Mosque asked us to come together and register protests peacefully. It was chaos and we were injured in that terrible situation. I was injured and referred here after 7:30 PM in the evening.