Srinagar: Senior National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone had to beat a hasty retreat from his hometown Hajin in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district after irate protesters attacked his cavalcade
The senior NC Minister, who has come under frequent stone pelting attacks in the north Kashmir district, was scheduled to preside over a public meeting at Bagat Mohalla to discuss the strategy for the upcoming parliamentary elections. However, when he reached near Shah Gund, the native village of teenager Farhat Ahmad Dar, who was shot dead by the forces last month, locals intercepted his cavalcade and questioned the government’s alleged failure in delivering justice to the family of slain teenager. Angry youth also attacked Lone’s motorcade with stones and bricks forcing him to beat a hasty retreat.
“Later, the protesters barged into the houses of NC activists Mohammad Maqbool Gasi, Khazir Mohammad Dar, and Ghulam Hassan Dar, and ransacked the house hold goods. They also threw stones on their houses. The protesters also warned the activists from inviting the pro-India leaders to the village,” Mohammad Suhail, an eyewitness told Kashmir Reader.
He said as extra deployments of CRPF and police reached the area, the youth clashed with them. Besides chanting slogans favouring independence, agitated youth pelted heavily upon the forces.
“The forces burst teargas canisters after failing to disperse stone hurling youth with batons. Even pellet guns were used to contain the protests. At least four people suffered injuries in clashes that continued till evening,” Suhail added.
Meanwhile, two scribes were allegedly manhandled and beaten up by the forces while covering the clashes in Shah Gund. The duo identified as Inayat Hajni and Zahoor Ahmad Bhat suffered injuries in the alleged thrashing.
“When we reached Shah Gund, the forces stopped us and beat us with gun butts and bamboo sticks without any reason or rhyme. They hurled choicest incentives at us. Had the local women not come to our rescue, the forces would have lynched us,” Hajni told Kashmir Reader at the SMHS, where he was brought for treatment.
The forces, he said, also thrashed the women folk when they tried to save him from their wrath. He said he was beaten up by forces till he fell unconscious.
“A man hailing from Naid Khai came to his rescue and drove him to the hospital. I had suffered injuries in left shoulder, back. My colleague was also beaten mercilessly,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Shah Gund and its neighbourhood villages had observed a spontaneous shutdown to protest NC minister’s visit. The locals had also burnt tyres on the road leading to the village to foil Lone’s visit.