ANANTNAG: Death of a 60-year-old man during an army raid on his house Friday night in Halmula Gawas village of Verinag Saturday triggered protests on Saturday.
Abdul Gani Naik died of cardiac arrest after the soldiers raided the house at about 12am and banged windows and doors of the house for about 15 minutes, Javed Ahmad, son of the deceased told Kashmir Reader.
“We were asleep when they banged the doors and windows. We were frightened and decided not to open the door. But when they abused us we mustered courage and opened the door,” Javed added.
“When we unlocked the door about 15 soldiers barged in. They were angry and shouted abuses. My father was frightened and started shivering and within no time he fell unconscious. I tried calling our neighbours so that we could take him to hospital but the soldiers didn’t let me. We somehow managed to inform police over phone. They came at about 1am and took him to hospital,” Javed said.
Doctors declared him “brought dead” at the hospital.
In the morning, people of the village took to roads and shouted pro-freedom and anti-army slogans. They marched towards police station Dooru, demanding an investigation into the death of the man. However, police and paramilitary troopers stopped them.
A police official, wishing anonymity, said the army had launched a search operation in the locality following inputs about the presence of militants there.
“It was not the raid on the house of the deceased only but search operation in the entire locality. On seeing the army men entering the house he may have got frightened,” he said.
Army, however, refuted the allegations of their involvement into the death of the elderly man.
“During the intervening night of 8 and 9 army received information about presence of militants in the village. The information was shared with police and subsequently search operation was launched by 19 RR and police,” an army spokesman said in a statement.
“During the search operation noise was heard from the house of Abdul Gani Naik and when the forced approached the house they found the above mentioned person unconscious. He was frail and aged. He was evacuated for treatment but died en route hospital,” the statement said.