Srinagar: A group of soldiers from Indian army’s High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) on Friday stormed a police station in the picturesque Sonamarg hill station of Ganderbal district and beat up and injured many cops. The incident triggered angry protests from the police promoting the top brass to file an attempt to murder case against the soldiers and arrest two of the accused including a Junior Commissioner Officer.
Reports said a scuffle broke out when a convoy of HAWS was stopped by police near Sonamarg police station to pave way for the traffic that was coming from the opposite side, reports said.
Two soldiers came down of their vehicles and entered into a verbal dual with the cops manning the barrier. The soldiers were furious and questioned the cops for stopping their vehicles.
The situation took an ugly turn when the soldiers pounced upon the policemen and thrashed them in full public view. Three policemen, including an Assistant Sub-Inspector were injured by the soldiers. The injured, identified as Abdul Ahad, Mohammad Anwar and the woman cop Tabassum, were removed to the nearby Kangan hospital for treatment.
“After thrashing the cops at the checkpoint, the soldiers barged into the nearby police station and went on a rampage. They also thrashed a Sarpanch Nazir Ahmad, several more cops and civilians in a fit of rage,” Mohammad Shafi, an eyewitness, told Kashmir Reader.
He identified some of the cops as SPO Ashiq, Constables Javed Ahmad and Shameem Ahmad Jhada.
“Two policemen with head injuries were brought to the hospital for treatment. After keeping them under observation for some time, they were discharged. Their condition was stable,” Medical Superintendent, Sub-District Hospital Kangan, Dr Javed Ahmad told Kashmir Reader.
The news of assault on the policemen spread like wildfire in Sonamarg. Scores of people shouting slogans converged outside the police station Sonamarg on the Srinagar-Leh highway and staged anti-army protests. The protesters were demanding stern action against the guilty soldiers. The protesters also pelted stones and rocks at the soldiers, triggering fierce clashes. The soldiers fired shots in air to scare away the people, reports said.
As the protesters swelled in numbers and the clashes intensified, police filed a case (FIR No. 3/2014 under Sections 307, 353, 392, 147 148 RPC) in Sonamarg police station. Police also seized four army vehicles including a bus (06P189711) and a Swaraj Mazda (03D1516148) belonging to the HAWS Sonamarg.
“Three policemen were injured by the personnel of army’s HAWS in Sonamarg today. We have filed a case against them and started further investigations,” Superintendent of Police (SP), Ganderbal, Shahid Meraj, told Kashmir Reader.
Earlier, police arrested two army men, including a JCO for attacking the cops. The arrestees have been identified as Subedar Sevadar Rangu and Constable Harpreet Singh.
Meanwhile, late night reports said that a high level meeting of army and police was held at the Police Station Sonamarg to discuss the issue. The meeting was attended by army’s 15 Corps Commander and senior police officials.
Army’s Srinagar based spokesman Lt Col NN Joshi said army will take strict action against their men if found guilty.
“A close liaison is being maintained with police and the matter is being investigated jointly,” Joshi said.