Budgam police summon ‘stone throwers’ on list issued despite promise not to
BUDGAM: The police have issued a list of 37 stone throwers in Budgam’s Beerwah block, among who are two special police officers (SPOs) who the police say were involved in stone pelting protests during the 2010 and 2016 uprisings.
Kashmir Reader accessed the list, headlined “Stone Pelters Who Have Not Been Arrested Yet” and issued two days ago to trade unions in the district, asking them to report to the concerned police station. The list carries the names, addresses and parentage of the “stone pelters”. The SPOs whose names feature in the list are currently posted in Beerwah.
The president of the Traders Association, Beerwah, Irshad Ahmad Banday, told Kashmir Reader that some of the names that figure in the list do belong to people who participated in the 2010 protests. That summer, Kashmir saw a massive, four-month, anti-India uprising sparked by the killing of a civilian teenager, Tufail Mattoo. Over 100 civilians were killed by government forces during that period, which witnessed protests across Kashmir.
But, Banday said, “The then District Magistrate and SSP Budgam visited the town and verbally assured locals that the cases registered against them have been quashed. It is unfortunate that they have issued new notice, despite the promise,” he continued.
Most of the people whose names are on the list, however, deny the charges of participating in the protests.
Mohammad Saleem Wani, named in the list, said that he has never indulged in any kind of protest in either 2010 or 2016.
“It is a baseless allegation against me. The list is aimed at threatening people and nothing else,” he said.
Another boy, Ajaz Ahmad Dhobi, who has recently been released after detention under the Public Safety Act, tragically found his name in the list once again.
His father, Ghulam Qadir Dhobi, told Reader that he is innocent. “We are poor and have lost every single penny in getting him free. Now naming him again is a disgusting and deliberate attempt to suppress the youth,” he said.
Abdul Majeed, who runs a makeshift tea stall at the Budgam main market, wants proof, “I have a family that relies on my earnings. If the police are really in search of stone pelters, then they have to arrest all the people of the Valley. Show me one person who did not pelt stones. If the police have any evidence, then make it public?” he challenged.
For the police’s part, Senior Superintendent of Police, Budgam, Tejinder Singh told Kashmir Reader that cases which have been pending till date will now be investigated.
He added, “The law will take its own course to deal with the cases, whether they are of 2010 or any other case of violating law and order”.