Malegaon (Maharashtra), Sep 30 (IANS) Two of the four deaths that followed the bomb blast here Monday were from bullets fired by the police at a mob, says Mufti Mohammed Ismail, whose Third Front rules the municipal corporation in this powerloom town.
Even as the police maintain that all the deaths occurred due to the bomb explosion at the Bhikku Chowk in the heart of the town, Mufti told IANS that only two people died in the blasts.
'I can say with hundred percent certainty that one person, Shaikh Mushtaq, died in police firing as he sustained no wound on his body except a deep gash on his neck, which is a bullet injury,' he said.
'The other person, Shaikh Rashid, also must have died in firing as he has bullet wounds on his chest,' he said, adding however that Rashid also suffered wounds from the explosives splinters.
After the explosion, an irate mob attacked the police and was fired upon.
While some police personnel were injured by stones, an unspecified number of people suffered bullet wounds.
'Police fired 60 rounds to control the mob wounding many people, at least five of whom, with deep bullet wounds, are lying in hospitals', Mufti said.
He said that the police were informed at 6.30 p.m. -- three hours before the blast -- about an unclaimed motorcycle parked near the Bhikku Chowk. But no action was taken.
'I told Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil (who visited Malegaon Tuesday along with Nashik district Guardian Minister Chhagan Bhujbal) about this,' Mufti said.
He said it was natural for people to get angry after a terrorist attack but he made it clear that he strongly condemned the mob attack.
Among the two who died instantaneously after the blast was 10-year-old Farheen Shaikh, a girl. The other was a middle-aged man, Shaikh Azhar Nisar, Mufti said.
The Bhikku Chowk, surrounded by three mosques, was deliberately chosen by terrorists two days before Eid-ul Fitr as it is adjacent to the town's ladies' market, Mufti said. The area was crowded by shoppers at that time.