The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blast town police under firing cloud
Ismail Mohammad Ayub, who suffered a bullet injury. Picture by Apoorva Salkade/Fotocorp

Malegaon, Sept. 11: Three days after the blasts here, it has come to light that police had opened fire on a mob that besieged a police station in the immediate aftermath of the explosions.

“They shot at me directly. I was lucky that I had bent down to retrieve my cellphone which I had dropped, otherwise the bullet would have pierced my heart,” said Ismail Mohammad Ayub, recuperating at Bhamre Hospital with a bullet injury in the neck.

The 19-year-old boy said he was hit when he was round the corner of the Azad Nagar police station on Friday afternoon, minutes after the three blasts in which over 30 people were killed.

Deputy chief minister R.R. Patil and the police have so far been saying that though at some places, there was firing in the air to disperse unruly mobs, no one had been killed or injured.

Patil had told a news conference that the “police fired in the air, no one was injured” and that “nine police officers were injured” in clashes with the mob.

Sources said a second person was injured in police firing and was admitted to Vaidya Hospital, but released after preliminary treatment.

Ayub, who works in a loom in Bhiwandi, had come to visit his parents and earn some quick money during the festive season.

“I could see two policemen in the distance. One was carrying a lathi and the other had a gun. When they saw me, the policeman with the gun fired. I got hit, but despite the pain, I ran down the lane,” Ayub said.

He said he didn’t know anything about the blasts long after he had been admitted to the hospital.

Ayub was taken to Ali Akbar Hospital and then to Faran Hospital, from where he was referred to Bhamre Hospital.

A doctor at Faran Hospital who didn’t wish to be named said: “It was a bullet wound, there is no doubt about that. He had no splinter wounds like the other injured victims, he had just one clear wound in the neck.”

Dr Subhash Bhamre, under whose care Ayub is recovering, said the boy was lucky to be alive.

“When he was brought in on Friday, I had to do an emergency surgery in the casualty ward. There was no time for me to take him to the operation theatre. I did the surgery without anaesthesia. I can only confirm that the injury is consistent with a bullet wound, but I cannot be sure unless the foreign body that is still inside him can be tested by forensics.”

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