– Local residents had prevented the forces from carrying out searches in the area.
Pampore, Jun 20: Residents of Samboora, Pampore, have accused army of harassment a day after a video showed soldiers using a few youth as human shields against a group of youth with whom they had been clashing in the same area.
One of the youths told Greater Kashmir on the condition of anonymity (as he apprehends reprisals) that they were playing cricket when the soldiers grabbed them by their collars and dragged them to the road, where people had been protesting.
Local residents had prevented the forces from carrying out searches in the area.
“They made us sit in front of army vehicles. People were watching us from a distance but they could not do anything apart from showing anger and protest. Our neighbors filmed our plight which agitated the forces further and they beat us mercilessly,” said another youth who too was “used a human shield”.
A member of Samboora Auqaf Committee said the forces have “wreaked havoc” in the area.
“They ransacked two residential houses and have detained one youth. Every time they carry out searches they harass people and ransack properties,” he said and warned the people would block the highway if “harassment doesn’t stop”.
However, the police said local youths took to streets and clashed with the forces to disrupt the anti-militancy operation.
A police official said the youths threw stones at the forces who responded by lobbing teargas shells and firing warning shots in air. He said the operation had been launched after inputs about the presence of militants in the area.
This reporter called SP Awantipora and PRO defence multiple times but there was no response from either.