SRINAGAR: At least 15 women were injured, four of them critically, at Simthan Bijbehara in Anantnag district on Monday when the government forces attacked the residential houses early in the morning, witnesses said.
Attendants of the four injured women admitted to the SMHS Hospital here said that the police and Special Task Force men barged into the residential houses in the village at 7:30 am, when there were no protests going on in the area.
“Fearing exploitation, we tried to escape to safety. But they used batons and pellet guns on us,” Afroza, an attendant, told Kashmir Reader. “The government forces shot pellets at the women who were inside their houses or in the lawns.”
Reenu Akhtar (30), who is among the victims, was fired at from point blank, Afroza said.
Reenu, who is also under-treatment at the SMHS Hospital, has, according to the doctors, received pellets in her respiratory tract and pericardial cavity, resulting in problems in her cardiovascular system.
“She has been operated upon and is under observation,” said a doctor.
One of the victims, 18-year-old Ishrat, writhing in pain, has been hit by pellets on her head and face.
Recalling the incident, she said: “There were no protests going on at that time; the protests were scheduled to take place later in the day. The police action was shear barbarity, aimed at instilling fear in us.”
Forty-five-year-old Ruby, who was also hit by pellets, has lost her eyesight in the attack.
She described the scenes as “mayhem”, saying: “Women were running here and there to save their honour. But there was nowhere to go, as there were forces all around. We were worried about our honour and dignity more than our lives”.
The victims alleged that the police acted on the orders of the station house officer, Bijbehara, Arshid Khan.
The officer, however, refused to talk to Kashmir Reader.
When these correspondents introduced themselves to the officer, he dropped the phone after saying “I am sorry”.
This is the second time in three days that government forces have targeted women in district Anantnag.
Earlier on Saturday, seven women were injured when the forces resorted to tear gas shelling and aerial firing on a pro-freedom rally in Chee, Anantnag.
(With inputs from Nouman Parvez)