December 2017 News

Hajin Observes Shutdown After Army Goes Berserk

7 December 2017
Rising Kashmir
M T Rasool

Haijin: Army on Wednesday damaged houses and shops across many localities here in Hajin township of Bandipora district after an army patrolling party was caught by surprise when a group of youth pelted stones on their convoy in the main Hajin market. Residents in Hajin accused army of targeting local community and public property in view of growing public support for militancy in the area. In the aftermath of the incident people especially traders in Hajin on Thursday accused the Army's 13 Rashtriya Rifles of ransacking their shops, houses, parked vehicles and setting ablaze piles of stored dry grass without any provocation. Residents told Rising Kashmir that army after failing to take on few stone-throwing youth went berserk and damaged property including shops, and houses. The traders held a protest demonstration on Thursday and observed complete shutdown against the army's highhandedness. Traders demanded stern action against army unit responsible for the action. Pertinently six people were injured on Wednesday after a group of youth allegedly pelted stones on an army convoy passing through the market. Witness said that army fled the spot and returned back after some time which led to the clashes between police and army, and youth. The army's action of vandalism according to locals came hours after stone-throwing incident after youth fled from the main market on Wednesday afternoon. Locals told Rising Kashmir that army troopers barged into shops and houses and vandalized everything they could find. 'The army men without any provocation came and smashed everything that came in their way, including windowpanes of hosues, shops and parked cars,'they said 'Many vehicles parked outside shops and houses were damaged,' said Muzaffer Hassan whose car parked inside his house compound was damaged. Hassan said that two army troopers who were part of large squad stormed inside their house and without any provocation damaged windows of the house besides damaging the car. 'They wildly entered our house, smashed windowpanes of my swift car beside damaging our house' Meanwhile, Trader Federation Hajin furious over the alleged unprovoked army action have demanded stern action against the army unit involved in causing damage to public property. Traders who observed complete shutdown on Thursday as a mark of the protest said that they will think of an alternate way of protest if accused army unit is not punished. President Traders Federation Hajin Mushtaq Ahmed Parry told Rising Kashmir, 'It is unfortunate that army damaged shops, houses and public property without any reason. It prompted us to observe a complete shutdown.' 'We had many meetings with army officer earlier who ensured safety of shoppers and public property but yesterday they acted against what they assured during the meetings,' Parray said. Many shopkeepers alleged that their merchandise was missing following the raid. The 'anti-people' action by army sparked massive protests in the area and people in large numbers hit to roads and chanted anti-India and anti-army slogans on Thursday. Localities most affected during the army action include Bangar Mohalla, Parrey Mohalla, Bon Mohalla, Khos Mohalla and main market. Locals who witnessed the Wednesday's army action told Rising Kashmir that troopers by design were throwing tear smoke shell towards dried piles of grass to cause a massive fire. 'They (troopers) were intentionally targeting piles of dried grass to burn the localities which are accused of supporting militants,' said a resident wishing not to be named. Residents in Bangar and Kosh Mohallas accused the army of targeting the localities in vengeance as residents there helped militants repeatedly in escaping safely. 'Army has failed now, they target locals and public property to exert tactical pressure, they (troopers) even tried to set ablaze Hajin localities,' angry locals told Rising Kashmir. 'Army is settling score by targeting commoner and public property, 'they said. 'They have made it a habit now. Every now and then they come and ransack our houses without any reason,' locals alleged. Meanwhile army's defense spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia denied public allegations and said that a mob attacked army's patrol party in Hajin injuring many soldiers. 'When mob didn't pay any heed to the army cautions, situation tuned grave which provoked forces to fire few rounds in air to reach their destination, ' he said He further said that army personnel are not involved in damaging or ransacking any public property.