Indian paramilitary forces Thursday shot dead six people protesting at a raid by the troops on a madrassa in Indian-administered Kashmir, police and witnesses said.
Border Security Force (BSF) troops fired on demonstrators who had gathered outside their headquarters in the district of Gool, two police officers said on condition of anonymity.
“It is mayhem. Six are dead and dozens injured. The death toll could rise further,” said one officer.
India’s Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde ordered an investigation into the shooting and appealed for calm in the tense Himalayan region.
“I have ordered an inquiry to be conducted without any loss of time to ascertain the circumstances leading to the firing,” Shinde said in a statement.
“I assure that any use of excessive force or irresponsible action shall be dealt with strictly,” he said.
“The loss of life in this incident is particularly saddening,” the minister said, without confirming the number killed.
The head of the madrassa, Qari Shabir, said four BSF troopers came in looking for militants, at the same time that a caretaker was alone there reciting prayers for Ramazan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2013.