Sikh Villagers Stage Protest In Kashmir6 November 2010
Srinagar: Sikhs in two Kashmir villages staged a protest on Saturday against gunmen allegedly knocking on their doors, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to the country. Police have registered a case and seized a vehicle, besides detaining the driver. Hundreds of Sikh villagers of Hutmura in South Kashmir joined by local Muslims took to the streets demanding action against the “culprits who threatened us.” “On Friday evening unidentified gunmen came to our village and started knocking on the doors of Sikh families. As locals raised an alarm they left the place leaving a private vehicle behind,” said president, Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee, Hutmura, Sardar Niranjan Singh. On Saturday morning Sikhs blocked the Khanabal-Pahalgam road at Mattan by erecting barricades. However senior officers rushed to the village and assured the Sikhs of full protection. Deputy Inspector General of Police South Kashmir Shafqat Watali told The Hindu investigations had begun. He said Army personnel had visited the village “in good faith.” “Since security had been tightened in the entire valley it was a routine patrol but it certainly created panic in the area” he said, adding that an inquiry had been initiated. District Magistrate Anantang Jaipal Singh said an FIR had been lodged in this case. “We cannot say anything about the incident now. The facts will only come out after proper investigation,” he said. In a similar incident in Upalna village in north Kashmir Sikhs alleged that personnel wearing Army uniform knocked on their doors on Friday evening. They alleged that the personnel left the area after they raised an alarm. Sardar Amreek Singh, secretary, Gurduwara Committee, Upalna, said the armed men knocked on the doors of several houses including that of Gurmeet Singh, Inder Singh and Raviraj Singh. He said the gunmen came in a private vehicle. Senior Superintendent of Police Baramulla Mansoor Untoo said the Army men had only visited the village to find some mechanic as a snag had developed in their vehicle. “Police went to the village and calmed them,” he said. Police have increased patrol in all the minority villages. Senior police officials visited the village. Chairman of the Sikh Coordination Committee Jagmohan Singh Raina sought a probe. The incident created ripples in the backdrop of the massacre of 35 Sikhs in Chattisinghpora in March 2000 when U.S. President Bill Clinton was visiting India.