Desecration of Holy Qur’an triggers protests in Ramban; 4 killed, 42 injured in firing

protestHome Minister orders probe; Mobile services snapped


Srinagar, July 18: (GNS) Four persons were killed and 42 injured when Border Security Force (BSF) personnel fired at protesters in Ramban district of Jammu region today. The protests sparked in the area after BSF personnel allegedly desecrated the Holy Qur’an and beat up the local religious preacher yesterday.

Sources told GNS that hundreds of people took to streets early Thursday morning against an alleged desecration of Holy Qur’an and beating of a local Masjid Imam and head of Daral-Ul-Aloom, Molvi Shabir Ahmad late Wednesday evening at Dadam, Gool in Ramban.

As the protesters headed towards National Highway, the BSF personnel opened fire on them resulting into death of four  persons and injuring 42 others. However, there were also some unconfirmed reports that six person have been killed.

The six persons who were killed have been identified as Farooq Ahmad, Son of Ghulam Ahmad of Salballa Gool, Javid Ahmad (a 4th class student), Son of Abdul Salam of Goie Dharam Gool, Muhammad Latif, Son of Abdul Rashid of Jamlan Dharm and Manzoor Ahmad Shan (a lecturer of Hr. Sec, School), Son of Abdur Rahman of Gool.

An eyewitness told Global News Service that while people were protesting; a Sub Inspector of Police Station Sangal Dam, Muhammad Afzal Wani opened indiscriminate firing on them, killing four of them on spot.

When contacted Deputy Commissioner Ramban Sham Vinod Mena, told Global News Service that four persons have been killed and several others were injured in a firing incident.

“I, along with other senior officers including DGP, am on job to handle the situation and we are trying to ascertain the facts,” he said.

Soon after the news about the causality spread in the area, there were more violent protests and the angry people tried to burn down some complexes of DC office and SP office in the district, sources said.

They said the protesters also blocked the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway at some places.

Following the deaths and alleged desecration of Holy Qur’an, many parts of Jammu region including Gool, Sangaldan, Ramsoo, Batote, Chanderkoot , Banihal shut down as a mark of protest.

Parts of Kashmir Valley also observed a spontaneous shutdown against the incident.

Protesting the killings, shopkeepers brought down shutters in Kashmir’s city centre Lal chowk after the news of the killings became viral. Loudspeakers in Jamia Masjid urged people to observe shutdown.

Reports of clashes were also reported from many parts of Kashmir Valley including Palhallen, Pattan, Sopore, Baramlla, Maisuma, Nowhatta and Pulwama.

Huge stone pelting was reported from Srinagar, Palhalan in North Kashmir and few parts of Anantnag and Qazigund of South Kashmir. The tense situation in valley led to spontaneous shutdown in major towns and Srinagar City. Huge deployment of security forces was also reported. Clashes were going on when this repot was filled.

Minister of state for Home Sajad Ahmad Kitchloo and top police officials have rushed to Ramban to take stock of the situation.

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde also ordered an inquiry into the firing incident and said any excessive use of force will be dealt with strictly.

“I have ordered an inquiry to be conducted without any loss of time to ascertain the circumstances leading to the firing. I assure that any use of excessive force or irresponsible action shall be dealt with strictly,” he said in a statement issued in New Delhi.

Expressing regret over the “unfortunate incident”, home minister said the loss of life in the incident was particularly sad and offered his deep condolence to the bereaved families. “I appeal to the people to maintain peace and normalcy to be restored,” he said.

Meanwhile, mobile internet services in the Kashmir Valley were snapped following the Ramban incident amid apprehensions of a backlash.

All the mobile internet connections stopped functioning late this afternoon as the news about killings and desecration of Holy Qur’an went viral.

Although, no reason has been given for snapping the services, it is believed that the step was taken as a preemptive measure to stop misuse of internet. (GNS)

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