April 2017 News

Videos Reveal Intensity Of Bypoll Protests, Restraint By CRPF Men

12 April 2017
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Srinagar: A series of shaky videos that have emerged during the past 24 hours are revealing the shocking intensity of protests that rocked the districts of Srinagar parliamentary constituency on the bypoll day on Sunday leading to a record-low voter turnout. Several videos, shot with mobile phone cameras on April 9, show a group of protesters chasing CRPF personnel and protesters storming a polling station. Another video shows electronic voting machines set ablaze. The videos have begun to emerge on social media sites during the past 24 hours as the authorities in the Valley restored Internet services on fixed lines after a three-day shutdown. The mobile Internet services, however, continue to remain shut. In the most dramatic footage to emerge from the poll day, a group of protesters are seen hounding CRPF personnel. The video shows the protesters kicking and slapping the paramilitary personnel and forcing them to shout separatist slogans. Bhavesh Chaudhary, CRPF spokesperson in the Kashmir valley, said the paramilitary force was trying to ascertain the location of the incident which, he said, highlighted the levels of restraint observed by its personnel. 'Even in such conditions and despite being fully armed, they are not reacting. It shows the level of restraint observed by the CRPF,' Chaudhary said. Even as the exact location of the video is not known, it appears to be authentic and shot somewhere in central Kashmir's Budgam district, which witnessed violent protests on Sunday. Budgam district, where most of the videos have been shot, saw some of the worst violence in recent years on the poll day with seven civilians dying in the firing incidents. In another video, which is reportedly shot in Ratsun village of Budgam, screams of women are heard as villagers are seen carrying a wounded civilian who is fatally shot. Blood is seen splattered on the ground where the fatally wounded civilian had fallen to bullets. Another video shows a group of protesters setting ablaze polling equipment, including an electronic voting machine. Shantmanu, Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir, had said that more than 200 incidents of violence were registered on the polling day in Srinagar constituency. He described the polling day as 'not a good day' as at least one polling booth was set ablaze and an attempt was made to set ablaze another while vehicles carrying security forces to poll duty and polling staff were attacked by demonstrators. An attack by protesters on a polling station at Nowgam on the outskirts of the city has also been caught on camera with an unidentified person running a live commentary. 'This is Nowgam polling station. You can see how boys are throwing stones at the polling station,' the voice of an unidentified person says in a commentary as protesters climb a fence and try to enter a polling station through a window as others throw stones.