Budgam: In besieged Nassurullah Pora in Bugdgam district, about 12 kilometres from Srinagar city, dozens of clashes between protesters and government forces have left hundreds injured and many youths have been forced to take refuge in safer places.
“We fear for our lives. Police are looking after us,” said a teenager who has left his home a few days ago after his name came up in police investigation.
At 4pm on 11 July, forces had entered several houses while chasting a group of protesters with whom they had fought a stone-throwing battle. Some protesters had entered the home of Tawseef Ahmad Dar who was sitting in his room when he saw forces smashing windows and looking for men.
“They thrashed me. They arrested four others protesters from my house. I was dragged by my hair and bundled into an armoured vehicle. They were repeatedly hitting my leg. I felt as if my ankle has been removed. I told them I am innocent. They took me to the Police Station Budgam,” Tawseef said.
Tawseef is 26 and runs a small shop in his locality. He is married and has one son.
He said the superintendent of police Budgam would inspect the Police Station twice a day.
“There was another uniform man accompanying him. He told me his name is Mushtaq. He would strip me each time he beat me up. He would tell me ‘I know you are innocent. You tell me the names of stone pelters and we will let you free.’ I was kept in lock up for 13 days while my ankle was fractured.”
He was dumped outside Bone and Joint hospital.
“Doctors were hesistant to operate on me. They told me my ankle has severe infection. I begged them to save my foot,” Tawseef said.
Police has lodged an FIR against Tawseef and he is currently on bail.
Doctors have told him to rest for three months and then another operation will be carried out in his ankle if needed.
Mukhtar Ahmad Mir, 25, is recovering at home, but he can never use his left hand again.
“My mother’s love and my father’s smile are the only things that keep me going,” he said.
On 29 July, Mukhtar suffered a direct hit from a teargas canister during a protest, which tore up his hand. His thumb was amputated at hospital. Plastic surgery—abdominal skin was grafted on his hand—was conducted on him.
His brother Showkat was assaulted by the army in 2010 and he suffered crippling back injuries, which made Mukhtar, a mason, as the main earner for the family of six. Their father, Mohammad Yousuf, 70, has been doing manual labour for the past few days.
Zubair Ahmad Reshi, 15 and class 10 student, recounts the horror when he went out from his home to buy medicines and was shot with a bullet in his buttocks and then thrashed.
“They caught my friend Aqib and I went to save him. They shot me and beat both of us. They did not let people to take us to hospital. After a long time when they felt that I might bleed to death did the police bundle me in a vehicle and dumped me in hospital like an animal,” he said.
Zubair had called his parents from a doctor’s cellphone, telling them he is at the hospital.
His father, Abdul Hamid Reshi, is a labourer. His mother said they have ruined her son’s life.
“He can hardly feel his leg. Didn’t they see he was only a child,” he said.
On 14 August, 35 RR army camp in Budgam was attacked by the protesters. In retaliation, as Muzaffar Ahmad Khan said, they started to raid the villages from the next day and started to detain youths and torture them.
Muzaffar Ahmad Khan and Mukhtar, both aged 18 were in the rice fields when they saw they army coming to detain them at 4 pm. They both ran, but were caught and dragged by their hair and taken to the camp.
“Army men hanged us naked from a ceiling and put stones in our mouth. Then they started to beat us with sticks for hours. When we were left unconscious by beatings, they put us down on the floor and threw water at us. We were then seated on the chair, our arms were spread out on a table and pounded with sticks. Finally they asked us: give us the names of stone throwers. We told them we don’t know. They started to torture us again,” Muzaffar said.
The duo was detained and tortured for nearly 7 hours.
When people came to know about their detention, they gathered outside the army camp and their release. Both were released at about 12am.
Muzaffar, a labourer, has one fractured arm and his back hurts. Mukhtar too has suffered injuries.