“Youth of almost all age groups were Sunday seen rushing towards the encounter spot at GhatMohalla, where thick smoke was emanating from five houses that were razed to the ground during the gun-battle.
‘By ABID BASHIR’
Srinagar: Screams of wailing women breaking the cold breeze,roads dotted with hundreds of empty cartridges and remnants of tear-gas shellsfired by forces greeted visitors to Mujgund area after a night-long gunfightended here Sunday. The area was turned into a ‘war zone’ given the quantity ofammunition used by the forces to kill three militants—two local teenagers and aPakistani national—in the 18-hour-long gunfight, local residents told GreaterKashmir.
Youth of almost all age groups were Sunday seen rushing towards the encounter spot at GhatMohalla, where thick smoke was emanating from five houses that were razed to the ground during the gun-battle.
“Militant ha chekhnemit (militants have been taken away),” a youth shouted at the encounter site.
Trying to separate burnt wooden pieces from bricks of a completely damaged house, an elderly man said: “It was a doomsday for us. See what they did to our houses. Where shall we live now? Forces fired mortar shells at our houses throughout the night. We lost everything today. They spared nothing for us.”
As the man was struggling to pull out the half-burnt window from the rubble, wails of women around grew louder.
“Forces arrived here at 4 pm Saturday. They didn’t allow us to even close the doors of our homes. There was no militant in my house and yet they razed it to the ground,” she said, amid shrieks. “I have three daughters. Where shall we go now in this bone-chilling cold?”
A group of women while trying to clean utensils they had pulled out from the heaps of debris, said: “We couldn’t sleep throughout the night as forces fired mortar shells towards our houses”.
“It looked like a war. Perhaps such a scene can’t be witnessed even during a war. After every two to five minutes, we heard loud explosions. We were in a nearby area but we could hear the earth-shaking bangs and saw our houses going up in flames,” said Mymoona, whose house was flattened.
“It was a night of horror. Big bangs continued till Sunday morning. Our houses were in flames for the whole night,” she said, and broke down.
Many residents alleged that forces deliberately damaged houses where there were no militants.
“In my house, there was no militant and yet it was flattened,” alleged an elderly man.
Within no time, hundreds of youth reached the encounter spot Sunday as forces had left the site.
Unmindful of possibility of littered explosives, the youth started helping those who had lost their dwellings.
“This is all we can do right now,” said a youth, who instantly started separating bricks, stones and half-burnt doors and windows of a damaged residential house.
Many youth were seen helping women to bring out utensils,trunks and other house-hold stuff from the debris.