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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

BSF firing kills 4 in J&K after clash over prayer timing

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Jammu, July 18, 2013
First Published: 14:45 IST(18/7/2013) | Last Updated: 09:06 IST(19/7/2013)

Tension gripped Jammu and Kashmir following the killing of four persons in alleged firing by the Border Security Force (BSF) in Ramban district on Thursday.

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While officials maintained four had died, locals claimed the toll was six. There were different versions of what led to the firing during protests by locals. At least 44 people including security personnel were injured during the clash in Gool area of Ramban, around 200 km from Jammu city.   

The BSF said a mob had attacked its camp, indulged in firing and tried to storm their storehouse of arms and ammunition around 6.30am. 

According to locals, the protests erupted because BSF personnel had roughed up a religious leader’s brother on Wednesday night following an argument over offering late-night prayers during Ramzan.

The BSF dismissed the allegation. Inspector General of BSF Jammu Frontier Rajeev Krishna said a picket of troops of 76 Battalion of BSF had intercepted a person moving in suspicious circumstances at a check-point around 10pm on Wednesday.

He refused to give details about his presence. The BSF team let him go and informed the police, the IG said. As the police were investigating the matter this morning, a mob of 700-800 people attacked the BSF post with stones injuring one constable, Krishna added.

"Keeping in view the threat to the arms and ammunitions, steps were taken with maximum restraint by the security forces."

Asked if the deaths were due to BSF firing, Krishna said, “BSF and police officials and officers were on the spot. It is difficult to say in whose firing the casualties were caused.”

In Delhi, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde ordered an inquiry into the firing. "I assure that any use of excessive force or irresponsible action shall be dealt with strictly," he said in a statement.

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