Srinagar: A police officer was thrashed and his wireless set was broken by a group of army soldiers at the Baltal base camp in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Monday after he prevented an army Captain from taking his private vehicle through the highly secured camp.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Nazir Ahmed Wani (belt No-102 Gbl), and his subordinate, Head Constable Shabir Ahmad, were manning the drop gate at Baltal base camp of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage, when they intercepted Captain Ajay of 27 Punjab Regiment, who was on his way to Domail in a private vehicle, officials told Kashmir Reader Tuesday.
The Head Constable demanded I-card from the Captain, who was in civvies, for taking the private vehicle towards the base camp. This led to a heated argument between the Captain and the police official.
Hours later, the Captain reappeared on the spot with nearly two dozen soldiers and thrashed the ASI. Due to severe beating, Wani suffered multiple injuries. He was removed to the base camp’s medical unit, where doctors operated upon him. Wani, a resident of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, was later referred to the SKIMS, Srinagar for further treatment.
“The policeman was brought here with multiple injuries in right arm and lower back. He must have been discharged by now,” SKIMS, Medical Superintendent, Dr Farooq Jan told Kashmir Reader Tuesday.
Following the incident, top army and police officers held a meeting at Baltal on Tuesday and concluded that the matter needs to be investigated jointly.
Army’s Srinagar-based spokesman in a handout said the incident was a result of “misunderstanding”.
“The issue has been resolved and the personnel involved in the incident have been replaced. The matter is under investigation. A strict disciplinary action will be taken against the guilty,” the spokesman said.
However, rebuffing the army claims, the injured ASI told Kashmir Reader that he was beaten up by the Captain in a fit of rage after he prevent him from taking his car to the highly secured base camp.
“The Captain broke down the antenna of my wireless set when I tried to establish a contact with my senior officers. He also thrashed me with gun-butts, as his soldiers also joined and hit me with jackboots,” Wani said.
Wani said that his only fault was that he followed the government orders and prevented the unauthorized vehicle from moving towards the base camp.
“My subordinate told the Captain that we have strict orders not to allow vehicles without permission towards the base camp. However, he didn’t pay any heed. Instead, he misbehaved with my officer,” Wani added.
This is the second incident of high handedness by the soldiers in the picturesque Sonmarg in recent past.
Earlier in May, three policemen, including two officers were injured when the soldiers of Army High Altitude Warfare School thrashed them for stopping their vehicles along the Srinagar-Leh highway near Sonmarg.
And last week, a group of CRPF troopers torched scores of tents belonging to locals at Baltal following a scuffle between a pony owner and the members of a non-local community kitchen. The clashes that followed left nearly two dozen people, including trooper and policemen injured.