‘It was a massacre’ Aripanthan Budgam victims recount horror
“It was a massacre. They fired at us without any provocation.” These are the words of Ghulam Muhammad of Aripanthan village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district who survived the “indiscriminate” firing by forces in the area on Tuesday. But, his younger brother Farooq Ahmad (20)—hit by a bullet in chest—is critical at the Surgical Intensive Care Unit of SK Institute of Medical Sciences here.
“There were no protests or any provocation. We were sitting outside a bookshop in our vicinity and few other youth were ahead of us, chatting. All of a sudden, forces’ vehicles arrived at the scene,” Ghulam Muhammad said.
Recalling the horror at the firing spot, Ghulam Muhammad said forces first fired teargas canisters towards them. “We left the spot and in the meantime, others who were present on road, came towards us inquiring about the situation. Then, without any provocation or stone-throwing, forces fired bullets indiscriminately towards us,” he said, stating that situation in the area was “normal till the firing took place.”
“I have no words to describe the horror we witnessed. As the forces fired, we lifted four persons including my brother (Farooq) from the spot,” he said.
Out of four injured, one succumbed on the spot, other died on way to SKIMS Bemina, while two (Farooq and Tawqeer Ahmad) were referred to SKIMS Soura, he said.
“It happens nowhere in the world that people are being killed for even assembling on roads. There was no announcement of curfew in the area,” Ghulam Muhammad said.
Another youth who had suffered minor injuries, said: “As the forces fired, more people came out on road to rescue the injured persons who were hit by bullets, but forces didn’t stop and continued with firing,” he said. “They didn’t even fire pellets. They directly started firing bullets.”
“We don’t know how many have been injured, but the way forces fired, many sustained grievous injuries,” he said. “The forces were angry because there were protests in Aripanthan and neighboring villages on August 15.”
“Forces last night tried to arrest youth during midnight raids, but villagers didn’t allow to them to enter the hamlet. This infuriated them,” he said.
Tawqeer has been hit by a bullet on his head.
As per medicos, both the injured have been operated upon but their condition “continues to be critical.”
“Both these boys have been hit above-waist with bullets,” they said.