Protests In Bandipora After Army Thrashes People

16 November 2015
Greater Kashmir
Shabir ibn Yusuf

Bandipora: Five persons were injured on Monday-one among them critically-after Army beat up protestors who were demanding release of three youth arrested by soldiers in a terrifying nocturnal raid in Zabn Gujjar Basti in Chuntimulla area of this north Kashmir district. LOCALS SPEAK: Local residents told Greater Kashmir that soldiers of Army's 14 Rashtriya Rifles entered into the residential house of Noorani Khan of ZabaGujjarBastiChuntimulla at 3.30 am on Monday 'in a terrifying manner.' The soldiers arrested three youth identified as Manzoor Ahmad Khan, Shakoor Ahmad Khan and Junaid Ahmad Khan-all cousins-after beating them to pulp and took them to Chuntimulla 14 RR camp while covering their faces with cloth, they said. 'Army men entered our house before the morning prayers and started thrashed us mercilessly without saying anything,' the family members of Noorani Khan told Greater Kashmir. 'They were accompanied by cops of Special Operations Group. The Army party was headed by Major Sarwat of 14 RR.' The family members said the soldiers asked them to assemble in one room and closed its door. 'They caught hold of Manzoor, Sakoor and Junaid and covered their face with cloth and started beating them mercilessly,' they said. 'We heard their screams for at least 15 minutes. The trio was whisked away by the Army men. They (the soldiers) were beating them and we were asked to shut the door.' 'We pleaded before them to leave the youth, but they rebuked and abused us,' the family members said. Shakeel, a neighbour of Noorani Khan, said he is terrified by the incident. 'I thought somebody died. I peeped through the window of my house and saw Army men kicking the youth. They were screaming,' he said. MASSIVE PROTESTS: At 8.30 am, the villagers including women and children of ZabnGujjarBasti, Sumlar, Arin, Kunan and some other adjoining areas marched towards the 14 RR camp in a procession to seek the release of the three youth. The protesters said as soon they reached near the camp, the soldiers 'without any provocation beat us up.' The Army action resulted in injuries to five people. One of the injured is stated to be critical. The injured were identified as SakinaBano (40), Ghulam Hassan Khan (35), Javid Ahmad Khan (30) , Reshmi Jan (38) and Muhammad Hussain Khan (32). Locals said the injured were profusely bleeding and people took them on wooden stretchers to District Hospital Bandipora. Three of the injured-Sakina, Ghulam Hassan and Javid-were referred to SKIMS Srinagar for specialized treatment. The other two were discharged after first-aid, a doctor said. 'Three persons including the women had received head injuries. We have referred them to SKIMS,' Dr Shaker Ahmad, who attended the injured at District Hospital Bandipora told Greater Kashmir. 'They have been hit by a sharp-edged weapon.' Dr Shaker said the condition of Sakina is 'a bit critical.' Locals said while people took the injured to District Hospital in a procession, police lobbed hundreds of teargas shells to disperse them. The teargas shells were lobbed in Sulmar, Arin, Kunan and Mader areas. 'However after the intervention of Assistant Commissioner Bandipora, police allowed people to lift the injured to hospital,' they said. As the news spread in Bandipora, people took to streets and held strong protests demonstrations against Army, Police and the government. 'They (army men) caught hold of me and beat me with gun-butts,' Sakina told Greater Kashmir. 'Blood started oozing through my ear and nose.' Some of the women, who were part of the protests, said they were manhandled by the Army men outside Chuntimulla 14 RR camp. 'The army men came out in dozens from the camp and started beating us to pulp. They pounced on us,' the women protesters said. To protest beating of protestors and manhandling of women by the Army, people in hundreds later held strong protest demonstrations in front of Deputy Commissioner's Office. They were chanting pro-freedom, anti-army and anti-government slogans. To pacify the protestors, the Deputy Commissioner asked Army to hand over the trio to police. They were handed over police but are still in custody, an official said. A police official said one among the trio has been 'badly tortured.' 'We are treating all of them,' he said. ARMY VERSION: An official of Army's 15 Corps told Greater Kashmir that soldiers and SOG had launched joint operation in the area. He said the joint party apprehended some suspects from the area. 'After apprehending some people, there were clashes. Police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd. There was intense stone-pelting. Army doesn't resort to lathi-charge,' he said, adding, 'Later all the suspects were handed over to police.