Anantnag: The mother and three sisters – one of them the nursing mother of a 20-day-old infant – of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Tawseef Ahmad Sheikh were thrashed by government forces at their home in Rampura village of Kulgam district in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Sheikh has been an active member of the Hizb for a couple of years now.
A complete shutdown was observed in the area and adjoining Khodweni-Qaimoh villages against the ‘highhandedness’ of government forces.
According to Sheikh’s family, the government forces came at about midnight and tried to force their way into their home.
“The women of the house however raised a hue and cry, following which our neighbours came to our rescue. The locals clashed with the government forces, making them retreat,” Sheikh’s father, Abdul Salaam, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the forces returned with a vengeance at about 3:00 am, firing tear smoke shells and bullets all the way.
“We (the men of the house) had gone into hiding by then, and finding no male member at home, the forces started beating the women black and blue,” Salaam said.
He alleged that his wife and his three daughters were ruthlessly beaten.
“One of my daughters has delivered a baby some 20 days back. She was kicked in her stomach by the forces. They did not even spare my 2-year-old grandson, he too was beaten,” Salaam said.
The forces also allegedly damaged property at the Sheikh household “while they kept firing tear smoke shells”.
Sheikh’s neighbours told Kashmir Reader that they did their best to put up a stiff resistance even at 3 in the morning, but the forces were firing shells left, right and centre.
As the government forces left, locals said, the injured women were rushed to a hospital nearby for treatment.
The Sheikh family said that government forces raiding their house was nothing new, but what they did this time has been a first.
Senior superintendent of police Kulgam Sreedhar Patil refuted the allegations of the women having been thrashed or otherwise harassed.
“Yes, we raided the house with the intent to look for Tawseef Sheikh, who is an active militant. He was not home, and our men left soon after. Nobody was beaten,” Patil told Kashmir Reader.
As the news of the forces’ action spread in the area, a spontaneous shutdown was observed across the Khodweni-Qaimoh belt.
“The youth hit the streets and pelted stones. They also blocked the Anantnag-Kulgam road for a while. The shutdown continued throughout the day,” a local told Kashmir Reader.
Later in the evening, police said termed news about beating of family as “baseless”. “Mischief mongers in order derail some serious terror crime investigations in the district are behind such malicious campaign,” it said.