By AFZAL SOFI/DANISH ZARGAR
SRINAGAR July 18: Nazir Ahmad of Gool, Ramban, working with railway construction company AFCON, received pellet injury in his waist in the Ramban incident. He was brought to SMHS Hospital here where he spoke to Kashmir Reader.
Here is Nazir’s account of the events.
“On Wednesday night, everyone had left for home after ‘tarawih’ prayers. Four BSF personnel went to the local ‘darsgah’ where one Abdul Lateef was reciting the Qur’an. BSF men asked him to come out. They thrashed Lateef, and then three of them entered with shoes inside the ‘darsgah’ while the fourth one continued to thrash Lateef.
“In the ‘darsgah’, they tore the Qur’an into pieces. After they left, Lateef went up to the road and stopped a truck. He asked the truck driver to stand witness to the desecration, while he himself went to call police. Since the incident happened late in the night, police asked us to go the ‘darsgah’. And when we went there, everything had been desecrated. Pages of the Qur’an were lying scattered. Infuriated, we staged a procession right then. BSF men tried to stop us, but we didn’t listen to them. We called people in the adjoining villages and they came out to join the processions.
“At about 12 am, officials of the district administration including the Tehsildar, DSP and the SHO came to the spot. Many imams also arrived there. And all of them tried to persuade us to end the procession. We dispersed after the imams asked us to suspend the agitation till morning. We went home, but many people stood there throughout the night, burning tyres amid sloganeering.
“After ‘sahur’, we rushed back to the spot. People came in trucks, buses and Sumos. It was a gathering of thousands of people. And we went up to the BSF camp. No BSF personnel was visible outside the camp. As soon as we tried to step inside, BSF opened indiscriminate fire. They fired in all directions. Scores were hit by the bullets.”
Mohammad Ikhlaq Wani, who runs a Khidmat Centre in the area and was attending Nazir in the hospital, said the ‘target firing’ started after officials of the district administration arrived at the camp.
“We first tried to enter the BSF camp, and there was stone pelting and aerial firing from within it which was retaliated with stone throwing by the protesters. At around 7: 30 am, the Deputy Commissioner arrived at the spot, asserting that there was no one inside the camp. Later as we tried to enter the camp again, BSF men started target firing in which dozens were injured,” Wani told Kashmir Reader.
Mohammed Amin Wani, a casual laborer in R&B, Mechanical Division, was on way to duty in the morning when pellets hit him. He was also admitted at the SMHS Hospital with pellet injuries all over his legs, abdomen, chest and face.
Speaking to Kashmir Reader, he said: “They (BSF) men had beaten up a Maulvi sahib and desecrated the holy Qur’an. Perhaps the issue (that provoked BSF) was that we use loudspeakers during ‘tarawih’. Early morning, people gathered outside the camp and started protesting. BSF men were inside the camp, and none of them was visible from the outside. And then they opened fire from inside the camp. Dozens of people were injured in the firing. Most of the injured were rushed to Jammu and a few were shifted to Srinagar.”
Publish Date: 19-07-13 6:03 AM
By AFZAL SOFI/DANISH ZARGAR