At least 4 killed as BSF men open fire on protesters in J&K town

FPBodies lie in Gool in Ramban district on Thursday

According to the BSF, the J&K Police were the first to open fire on the mob, and the BSF fired only later and in "self-defence" after some 700 people attacked the armoury. A senior BSF officer said their small post had been pelted with at least 15,000 stones.

The BSF said tensions started some time after 9 pm on Wednesday after a patrol party at the Dharam checkpost asked one Mohammad Lateef, who is the imam of the local mosque, for a proof of identity. Lateef allegedly reacted aggressively, and "15-20 people" assembled. According to the BSF, the jawans, sensing trouble, then returned to their post.

However, "it is learnt that Lateef made a baseless and false allegation that the patrol party had desecrated the Quran and announced same thing on the loudspeaker from the mosque. Following this, around 400-500 persons gathered outside the BSF camp and started pelting stones," the BSF said in a statement.

But the BSF restrained itself, and the police succeeded in dispersing the mob around 3 am, the statement said.

"...Around 6.45 am, mob started to build up in big numbers and tried forcefully to enter the Dharam campus... The police fired 3-4 rounds which injured one BSF constable and three locals," the statement said.

According to I-G Krishna, the mob tried to loot the "extremely lethal" weapons. "They tried to break open the gates of the BOP when a combined team of local police and BSF was forced to fire at them around 9.30 am, when the second rounds of protests started," he said.

Among the dead was a teacher at the government higher secondary school, Manzoor Ahmed Shan, who was also the brother of local National Conference leader Dr Shamshad Shan. Police gave the names of the other three dead as Javed Iqbal Manhas, Abdul Lateef and Farooq Ahmad Baig.

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