SOIBUG (BUDGAM): An unwritten truce between the army and people is fast wearing thin in Soibug as its residents say that the soldiers of the nearby Dahramun camp have been harassing people for the past week and firing in air to thwart peaceful demonstrations in the evening.
The villagers say that army is looking for petty excuses to confront people since July 8, when the raging anti-India uprising began after the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani.
All villagers this reporter spoke to requested they should not be named because they feared reprisal from army. They have to pass by the army camp while travelling to other areas in Budgam.
“The army has been searching for people it says are organising protests. They have intensified night patrolling and many people have been beaten up by the soldiers. A youth was caught on Thursday and beaten up and warned of dire consequences if he complained to their officer or the villagers,” said a villager.
The villagers said that, apparently, an officer named Arjun Singh doesn’t approve of soldiers’ actions and let off several youths who had been detained at the camp without his knowledge.
“But who knows. They all must be playing a charade,” said a village elder.
One of the elders said that since 2001 no militant activity has be reported in the area and the soldiers of the camp also did not harass any local.
He added the army is aware that the area is the native place of Syed Mohammed Yusuf Shah popularly known as Syed Salahudin, who heads both Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and the United Jihad Council, a grouping of all militant organizations operating in Kashmir.
“We have been through a tough phase during the past few days as soldiers from this camp as also from Shariefabad headquarters conducted crackdowns search operations and committed atrocities,” he said.
“Now after 15 years the youth here are seeing a repeat of what army used to do. In the evening, army convoys zoom past the village and play loud music only to irritate youth who are praying in mosques,” he added.
Kashmir Reader tried to call PRO defence Lt Col NN Joshi but he did not pick up the phone.