Dharam, Gool,Jul 20(Bashaarat Masood):BSF personnel in Gool shot a 32-year-old teacher of political science in the head even as he was trying to reason with the agitated mob, the superintendent of police (SP) of Ramban said a day after the firing that killed four people, injured over 15, and triggered massive protests across Kashmir.
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He had a close shave himself, and narrowly missed being hit by a bullet, SP Javed Ahmad, who was present at the time of the firing outside the BSF post on Thursday, said.
“Manzoor Ahmad Shan was with me. He was standing next to me. He was trying to pacify the people who were angry. He was hit by a bullet,” the SP told The Indian Express on Friday.
“I myself had a miraculous escape. The BSF men opened fire suddenly. I too would have been killed had my colleague not dragged me away,” he said.
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The SP said the police were standing between the BSF camp and the protesters. “We had been controlling the mob for an hour. There was no need to open fire,” Ahmad said.
Several thousand angry protesters had gathered outside the BSF camp on Thursday morning following reports that the imam of the local mosque had been beaten up and the Holy Quran desecrated the previous night. Among those who were killed in the firing was a labourer with a disabled wife and two small children, and Manzoor Ahmad, the assistant professor who had been trying to pacify the protesters.
Residents of Gool said that as day broke on Thursday, some 10,000 people from 18 villages in the surrounding mountainous area had begun to assemble at Dharam, where the BSF camp is located.
“The villagers were angry and were raising slogans. Manzoor (Ahmad Shan) sahib was trying to pacify them,” Ghulam Hussain, a resident of Salbala village, said. “Suddenly, they (the BSF) fired a bullet that hit Manzoor sahib in the head. This was followed by a barrage of indiscriminate gunfire,” Hussain said.
On Friday, The Indian Express found Gool — which is 207 km from Srinagar, and 55 km from Ramban on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway — eerily calm and tense. The BSF had abandoned its Dharam camp the previous night. The J&K Police had taken over the premises. Entire villages were out of their homes to mourn the dead.
Villagers said that about an hour before the firing, SP Ahmad had managed to persuade the protesters to step back from the BSF camp after promising action against anyone found guilty of the alleged incidents of the previous night. Tempers, however, boiled over after Ramban deputy commissioner Shyam Vinod Meena allegedly arrived at the spot and asked people to wait until Eid.
“This infuriated the villagers and they pushed back the policemen and again moved towards the camp where they were fired upon,” said a villager.
The 150-km stretch of highway from Srinagar to Ramban was dotted with burning tyres and stone barricades on Friday. Hundreds of people had assembled on the highway to protest the deaths at Gool.
The J&K government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of those killed in the firing. –
Courtesy: Indian Express