Srinagar: Violent protests on Tuesday rocked Hajin town of Bandipora district after police and paramilitary CRPF allegedly went on rampage and thrashed many persons, ransacked household goods and misbehaved with the women folk. At least a dozen people suffered injuries in the clashes triggered by the ‘atrocities’ of the forces.
Eyewitnesses said a posse of CRPF and policemen ‘stormed’ Syed Mohalla, Meer Mohalla, Banger Mohalla, Danger Mohalla, Tilwani Mohalla, Khosa Mohalla, Wahab Parray Mohalla, Naid Mohalla, Khankah and other localities of Hajin town and beat whosoever came in their way. The forces also smashed windowpanes of scores of residential houses with marbles using catapults.
“The troopers didn’t stop there. They barged into our houses, ransacked household goods and thrashed the inmates. Women folk and children were not even spared by the troopers and cops,” Numberdar of Hajin, Farooq Ahmad Parray told Kashmir Reader.
He said the forces caused “large scale destruction of the property including residential houses and shops without any provocation.” The windowpanes of around 40 houses, Parray said, were damaged by the forces in Meer Mohalla alone.
“I called up the officials of the civil administration to apprise them about the highhandedness of the forces. However, the officials didn’t entertain my repeated calls,” Parray said.
The alleged excesses forced residents of at least half a dozen villages to come out of their houses and stage protests. The protesters were met with teargas canisters and pellet guns, injuring at least six people.
Aisha Begum, of Meer Mohalla, told Kashmir Reader that the joint team of CRPF and police forced their entry into her house and vandalized her property.
“The forces also caught me by my hair and tried to tear my clothes. I pushed them aside and took shelter in the bathroom, bolting it from inside,” Aisha said. “I had to leave my minor kids aged 10 and 12 in the kitchen fearing mischief by the uniformed men,” she added.
Ejaz Ahmad, another resident, said the forces smashed windshields of parked cars and burnt down empty fruit boxes inside a shop causing extensive damage to it. He also accused the forces of looting many grocery stores in the area.
“We have been terrorized by CRPF and police since Friday. We’re not allowed to step out of the houses to buy bread and milk for our children. Instead, we’re being attacked inside our houses. After killing a teenager in cold-blood, the forces want us to die of starvation,” Ahmad said.
He said the forces have also laid a siege around the hospital to ensure that the youth injured in violent protests don’t get medical aid. He said over a dozen youth were injured in renewed clashes triggered by the alleged forces atrocities.
“Two youth from Vijpara, who were passing through the road, were bundled by CRPF into their vehicle and whisked away. They were not stone pelters, they were passersby. The highhandedness of forces has crossed all limits in Hajin,” he added.
Meanwhile, violent protests against the killing of teenager Farhat Ahmad Dar last Friday were also held at Saderkoot, Main Town and Naidkhai areas of the district.
The clashes broke out when scores of youth took to streets and staged pro-freedom and anti-India demonstrations. The forces used batons and fired teargas canisters to disperse the stone pelting youth. However, no reports of injury to any one were received when the last reports came in.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Bandipora, Dr Shah Faisal told Kashmir Reader that he has received some complains about the alleged highhandedness of the forces during protests at Hajin. Faisal said the restrictions might be lifted from the towns on Wednesday after reviewing the situation.
“Naidkhai was relatively calm; however, protests were held at Hajin. Overall, the day passed off peacefully. If all goes well, tomorrow I might go to Hajin to assess the situation,” he said.
Giving clean chit to his men, CRPF spokesperson, Kishore Prasad said that no excesses were committed by troopers while dealing with the stone pelting protests in Hajin town.
“CRPF didn’t commit excesses. We don’t know who did. There were other forces like IRP and police in the town was well,” Prasad said.
He said after Monday’s allegations of beating journalists, his officers recorded the clashes and protests in the town to rebuff any possible allegations. “Today our officer posted in the area cautiously captured all the events. This, we do to defend our men against whom allegations are levelled,” he added.