Police files case against army as locals allege harassment

Baramulla: Police filed a case against the Army after violent protests broke out Friday in Sheer area of this north Kashmir district against the alleged high handedness and harassment by the soldiers.
Scores of villagers of Narwaw area converged at Sheeri market this morning and staged anti-army protests alleging the plain cloth soldiers of a nearby camp appeared at Sochli Waran village Thursday night and thrashed the devotees, who were returning home after offering late night Taraweh prayers, eyewitnesses told Kashmir Reader Friday. The protesters alleged that the soldiers brandishing AK rifles were searching for a youth, whose policeman father was found dead in mysterious circumstances a few months ago. Chanting anti-army slogans, the protesters blocked Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway for several hours demanding punishment for the soldiers. Due to the blockade, scores of vehicles remained stranded on the two sides of the vital highway.
As the protesters were going on, a police team reached the spot and tried to pacify the agitating villagers that the incident will be probed. However, the defiant protesters refused to disperse. Later, cops used batons and fired teargas canisters to break anti-army demonstrations. The police action led to the outbreak of violent clashes that continued for several hours. According to eyewitnesses, four people suffered injuries in clashes, while two youth were arrested. The outbreak of clashes also prompted the traders to down their shutters.
“I along with some villagers was returning to our homes after offering prayers when we spotted a Maruti car (JK05/6595) outside the Masjid. When we went a bit closer to the car, plain cloth army men came forward and asked the villagers about me. They raised an alarm due to which dozens of men, and women came out of their houses. In the meantime, the soldiers fled from the village leaving their car behind,” Hilal Ahmad, who army was searching for, told media persons during the protest.
He said from the abandoned car, the locals recovered the identity cards of the attackers, who turned out to be soldiers. Police he said took the car in custody after informed by the locals about the incident.
Ahmad, whose father, a policeman was found dead few months ago, told the newsmen that the soldiers were seeking his details from the villagers for unknown reasons.
“I suspect they had come to the village with a bad intention. I fear they had come to abduct me since they have been collecting my details from locals,” he added.
Meanwhile, police said that a case has been registered and further investigations started in this matter.
“The army had gone to the area for a covert operation. Some misunderstanding had aroused between the army and locals. We have filed a case against army and started further investigations,” Superintendent of Police (SP) Baramulla, Suhail Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Baramulla, Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone told Kashmir Reader that the locals staged protests today alleging that the soldiers harassed them last night.
“The police are looking into the matter. The protesters were dispersed peacefully,” he added.