‘Forces went rampage after stone pelting incidents’
SRINAGAR, July 23: Hundreds of youths have been detained by police across Kashmir Valley during night raids after fresh protests erupted in many parts of the valley over Gool firing incident. People have also accused police and paramilitary force personnel of excesses and beating without any provocation.
Reports from almost all the districts of the Kashmir Valley reveal that cops carried out night raids and arrested youths allegedly involved in protests and stone pelting. However, the families of the arrested youths have been refuting the police allegations stating that the detained persons are not stone throwers.
Over 200 youths were arrested during the last one week of protests after the civilian killings in Gool area of Ramban district. The government had put the number at only few dozen only by saying those arrested were involved in stone pelting and that they will be released once the situation improves.
With situation deteriorating further since last couple of days and stone pelting incidents spreading to more and more areas in Kashmir, the cops started a fresh crackdown against the youth. Some arrests are being made during the protests also as was witnessed in several towns of north and south Kashmir besides old city of Srinagar. Even after the protests the raids are being conducted during nights to detain the youth.
“Police raided my house last night and arrested my son. He was not involved in any stone pelting incident,” said Sakeela Bano, of Nowshara Soura a mother of a detained youth.
Reports do not rule out continuation of this crackdown against youth in days to come and arrests of more and more persons.
People from several localities of old Srinagar and also from various district headquarters have alleged that police and paramilitary CRPF men indulged in excesses and beat people without any reason.
In Nowsharah (Soura) in city outskirts told Kashmir Times that after the stray incidents of stone pelting, CRPF personnel allegedly went on a rampage and beat the inmates to pulp while damaging dozens of vehicles and window panes of residential houses.
The residents of the area said that CRPF personnel forced their entry into dozens of houses and not only beat people but also damaged the windowpanes of parked vehicles.
Hundreds of people came out from their houses and raised anti-CRPF slogans. At Hyderpora, Hajin, Naidkhai, Kadipora, Eidgah and other places similar tales were narrated by people.
“I had purchased a Hyundai Santro car few months back and these men (CRPF) smashed its windowpanes and damaged it to such extent that it looks second handed now,” said a resident of Nowsharah.
The residents of the area further said that the when CRPF personnel fail to deal with stone pelters, they shower their anger on old, children and women sitting in homes.
“All windowpanes and doors of my house were damaged by these people (CRPF) and the irony is that local police seems to be helpless when they go for rampage,” the residents of added.
A resident of Rajouri Kadal said he was witness to CRPF ‘lawlessness’
“These men damaged scores of house and vehicles. CRPF personnel even didn’t spare the children and old women and hit them with lathis and gun butts after youth pelted stones at them,” he said adding that in the garb of stone pelting CRPF personnel do what they wish.
Locals in Anatnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Sopore and Bandipora also allegedly the troops let loose a reign of terror after the stone pelting incidents. Eyewitnesses told that the Army, police and CRPF personnel not only beat civilians but smashed even the vehicles as well, reported.
According to reports forces went on rampage after a stone was pelted on an army vehicle which was passing by where minor protests were going on. Forces allegedly beat up pedestrians and broke the window panes of houses and private vehicles. Protests erupted in entire Kashmir valley after Gool killings.
Almost all the separatist groups including both factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF have condemned the arrest and torture of youth in police stations. They have alleged that the government was victimizing the youth for peaceful protests and dubbing them as stone palters. “Kashmir has been converted into a police state,” said Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman Hurriyat Conference (G).
-SYED YASIR Kashmir Times