Quetta police open fire, kill protester

QUETTA, June 16: A mob attacked a police station near here on Saturday, demanding that a man detained for allegedly desecrating the holy Quran be handed over, leaving one person dead and 19 others injured.

Violence erupted after police arrested a “mentally retarded” man said to have burnt pages of the holy book in Kuchlak, about 16km north of Quetta, senior administration official Qambar Dashti said.

“Angry protesters, mostly Afghan refugees, torched several vehicles and pelted police with stones,” Mr Dashti said.

“Chanting that the man should be killed for blasphemy, they later entered the police station and started firing,” he said, adding that a senior police officer narrowly escaped while his guard was wounded in the shooting.

Police fired tear gas shells and opened fire in self-defence, Quetta police chief Qazi Wajid said.

The clash left one protester dead and 19 people injured including eight policemen, he said. “All the wounded people have bullet injuries,” he added.

The protesters said the man deserved death for blasphemy and demanded police hand him over to them, he said.

“The man appeared to be mentally retarded, we have taken him into custody and ordered an investigation,” Mr Wajid said, adding that the situation had been brought under control.—AFP

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