Police calms Srinagar residents as BSF accidentally shoots man
13 May 2002
The Asian Age
Srinagar: An otherwise minor incident triggered by the members of paramilitary forces deployed in the politically sensitive Old Srinagar City would have opened a pandora’s box in Kashmir’s volatile atmosphere. But the timely action by the police and paramilitary officials saved the situation from going out of control. Despite this, one person is battling for life in a city hospital. He was hit by a bullet fired by the Border Security Force personnel to quell a mob gathered to protest their “unwarranted interference” in the religious affairs. The authorities now plead the bullet accidentally went off from the gun of a trooper and, therefore, he should be pardoned. Unimpressed by the entreaty, the angry residents saw to it that the “guilty” trooper was reprimanded in public and with other colleagues given marching orders from the area. The entire posse of the BSF manning a pillbox in congested Safa Kadal locality was quickly replaced. At about 4.30 am on Monday the muezzin, Merajuddin Mir, as usual was walking towards the nearby Mohammadiyah Masjid at Safa Kadal to give a call for the fajar (dawn) prayers. He was stopped by the BSF posted at a distance and asked not to use the loudspeaker for the purpose or, at least, bring its volume down. He refused to oblige. The custodian of the mosque, Haji Gulam Ahmed, joined him and two together lodge their protest against the “undue interference in the religious affairs” by the BSF. “We told them what they are asking for is just not possible,” recalled the Haji. Infuriated by this, the troopers pounced on the duo and some other Muslims on way to the mosque. The word spread and soon angry crowds were out on the streets in protest. The BSF opened fire — a single shot that hit a man identified as Muhammad Sultan Gujri.