QUETTA - AFP - Mob killed a man and wounded three others over the alleged desecration of Holy Quran in Quetta on Wednesday, officials said.

The violence started when some vendors allegedly found torn-out pages of Holy Quran in a pomegranate crate they received in a shipment from neighbouring Iran, witnesses and officials said.

The news spread quickly in the entire town and gave rise to violent protest demonstrations across the city. Scores of people gathered on the spot and shouted slogans against Shiites, who form a majority in Iran. They destroyed shops, burnt a motorcycle and tried to march towards a Shiite neighbourhood in the city but were stopped by police, a senior police official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The crowd began shooting indiscriminately in various parts of the city, which resulted in one death and bullet wounds to three others. “At least one man was killed and three others were wounded in firing incidents in the city,” provincial home secretary Asad Gilani told AFP.

The deceased was identified as Zainul Abidin while the injured as Ghulam Murtaza, Abdul Ghafoor and Mehmood Rasheed. The injured were shifted to the Combined Military Hospital.

Gilani said the unrest in the city was contained after paramilitary troops were deployed in key areas, but he declined to shed light on the allegations of desecration. He said that nobody had come to the police to register a case under the country’s strict blasphemy law. On the other hand, the protesters blocked main roads at several places for all sorts of traffic, and the life came to a standstill for several hours in the city.

In June last year, a man was killed and 19 others were wounded when a mob attacked a police station demanding a man detained for allegedly desecrating Holy Quran be handed over. Whereas a statement issued by the Consulate General of Iran has termed the incident as a conspiracy of the non-Muslim powers, and said that the real motive behind the incident would soon be unearthed.

Separately, a man was killed after he was hit by a stray bullet in Satellite Town here. The incident took place when the city was in the grip of aerial firing and chaos. Police registered a case into the incident.

Separately, three persons were killed over a land dispute in Duki area. Levis sources said that an armed clash erupted between two groups which left three persons of a same family dead. The deceased were identified as Maulvi Abdul Rehman, his son and brother.

Being informed, Levis personnel rushed to the site and shifted the bodies to nearby hospital for medico-legal formalities. A case has been registered and further investigation is underway.