Passengers forced to disembark vehicles in front of army camp
SHOPIAN: With escalation in incidents of violence and spiraling militant footfall in the mountainous Shopian district of south Kashmir, the army has intensified its surveillance much to the inconvenience of common people. The locals say that army soldiers randomly conduct frisking of travelers, demanding identity proofs and often forcing the passengers to disembark from the vehicles and walk before the army camps.
Residents of Vehil, Shamsipora, Amashpora, Chitterpora, Kachdoora and adjoining villages told Kashmir Reader that solders of Chodrigund army garrison were daily frisking, checking identity cards and forces passengers to cross the Chodrigund camp area by foot. “The process is continuing for the past two months and we are facing immense problems due the army intervention in our daily routine,” a resident Muhammad Aqib said.
The locals said they hear sounds of gunshots during night hours after every second or third day. “The firing is frightening and mysterious. We don’t dare to come out of residences during the late hours even if there is medical emergency,” another villager wishing anonymity said.
They informed that Chodrigund army garrison was the same camp whose vehicles were attacked by militants on return from major cordon and search operation in 17 villages of Shopian. A civilian driver Nazir Ahmad from Kachdoora village was killed in the attack. Nazir’s vehicle was hired by the troopers from the camp.
Meanwhile, residents of Dreed-Kalipora village of Shopian alleges army ransacking residential houses and smashing parked vehicles during CASO, after the inputs of presence of militants in the village. They said that army launched cordon and search operation in one of the Mohallas of the village. “When the troopers were ready to leave the village, some boys from the village pelted stones on forces who retaliated with aerial firing and damaged window panes of several residential houses and parked vehicles,” a resident from the village said.
Earlier about 20 villages from this southern district were vandalized or assaulted during search operation or nocturnal raids.
Senior superintendent of police Shopian, S A Dinkar told Kashmir Reader that he will look into the complaints. “We will contact the officials of the camp in this regard,” he said. The Srinagar based spokesman of the army could not be reached for comment despite several attempts.