September 2002 News

Militants target voters with ID cards

14 September 2002
The Asian Age

Srinagar: A group of gun-wielding men standing in the middle of the road signaled a bus on its way to Khanda village to stop at Chokapora. The driver was left with no option but to obey. All the passengers readily got down to queue up for frisking by the ''soldiers.'' They were asked to show their identity cards to the ''soldiers.'' Those with the special Votersí Identity Cards were segregated from the others. The former felt lucky given the harassment those without the voter ID cards have gone through at the hands of the security forces. The latter were a worried lot and as was put by one of them later ''preparing to face the worst.'' However, when the soldiers started thrashing the voter ID card holders, they realised that the men were militants and not soldiers. The incident reminds one, of the days of the conflict between the supporters of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and his Muslim Conference rival Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Shah. This conflict gave rise to many exciting and some disgusting stories. A Sheikh supporter was called sher (lion) and a Mirwaiz supporter bakra (goat). One day, when a sher was going somewhere he was stopped by a group of the Mirwaiz supporters and asked if he was a sher or bakra and he told them the truth. He got a thrashing from the bakras. After walking a distance, he confronted another group. He was asked same question. Thinking that speaking the truth does not pay, he decided to lie. He told them he was a bakra, only to earn their wrath. He realised he was in the middle of Sheikh Abdullah supporters, the shers. He faced yet another group of people who asked him the same question. But the first two encounters had made the poor man wiser. ''Iím a gaub (female sheep),'' he said.


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