Four killed, 40 wounded, in protest in Kashmir

SRINAGAR Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:31pm IST

1 of 3. A Kashmiri Muslim youth throws a piece of brick towards Indian police during a protest in Srinagar July 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Ismail

Related Topics

SRINAGAR (Reuters) - Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers fired at protesters in Kashmir on Thursday, killing four and wounding 40 members of a crowd demonstrating against what they said was the desecration of the Koran by the security forces.

India has for decades faced opposition to its rule in the divided Muslim-majority Himalayan region though violence by Muslim separatist rebels has fallen off significantly in recent years.

Members of the BSF had opened fire on protesters in the Gool area, killing four and wounding 40, said the state's home minister, Sajjad Kitchloo.

The inspector general of the BSF, Rajive Krishan, told a news conference the deaths occurred when his men and police fired to disperse a violent mob trying to get into a post where arms and ammunition were stored.

"Our men used the force for self defence," Krishan said.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, both of which claim all of the territory. They have fought two of their three wars over the region and India accuses Pakistan of supporting separatist rebels fighting its rule in its part of Kashmir since 1989.

Pakistan denies arming the rebels, saying it only offers them political support.

Protesters said four members of the BSF had barged into an Islamic school in Dadad village on Wednesday night and beaten students and desecrated the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

"As the news spread, people came out in protest which continued throughout the night," said one protester, Mehjoor Dar. More protesters came out on Thursday.

Another protester, Ghulam Nabi, said about 5,000 people had gathered outside a BSF camp, some throwing stones, when members of the force opened fire.

Krishan rejected the protesters' accusation that his men had desecrated the Koran. He said "anti-national elements" had instigated the protest.

Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, said he was saddened by the loss of life and appealed for calm. He said he had ordered an inquiry into what led to the violence.

"Any use of excessive force or irresponsible action shall be dealt with strictly," Shinde said.

Protesters also clashed with police in Srinagar, 175 km (110 miles) from where the shooting took place, and some blocked the main road south to Jammu.

(Writing by Robert Birsel; Ediing by Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Diwali Sales

Diwali Sales

Gold sales jump about 20 pct for Diwali - trade body  Full Article 

World Bank Rival

World Bank Rival

Three major nations absent as China launches W.Bank rival in Asia  Full Article 

Wal-Mart India

Wal-Mart India

Murali Lanka appointed as Wal-Mart India operations chief  Full Article 

Microsoft Earnings

Microsoft Earnings

Microsoft sales beat Street hopes, cloud profits up.  Full Article 

Special Report

Special Report

Why Madrid's poor fear Goldman Sachs and Blackstone  Full Article 

U.S. Economy

U.S. Economy

Spectre of no-inflation world looms over Fed's return to normal  Full Article 

Insider Trading

Insider Trading

Rengan Rajaratnam, SEC to settle civil insider trading charge.  Full Article 

Market Watch

Market Watch

Betting on the beaten up? Investors pin hopes on stocks in Europe, Japan.  Full Article 

India Insight

India Insight

Kalki Koechlin on her role as a disabled girl in “Margarita, With a Straw”  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage