ANANTNAG: Amid clashes between government forces and protesters, Qaimoh and Khudwani areas of Kulgam district observed a shutdown for the fifth consecutive day on Tuesday against the arrest of youths by the police and army during nocturnal raids.
Witnesses said that scores of youth morning assembled in the main chowk on Tuesday morning and blocked the busy Anantnag-Kulgam road and shouted slogans against the police and the government while seeking release of the arrested youth.
And when the police used force to disperse them, the protesters threw stones, which prompted the police to fire tear smoke shells and pellet ammunition. During the clashes, which continued for several hours, a youth was injured.
Local residents allege that the personnel of the dreaded counterinsurgency wing of the police, Special Operations Group, and the local army units have been harassing the youth by accusing them of supporting militants.
National Conference leader and MLA Hom Shalibugh Abdul Majid Bhat (Larmi) said the police are harassing the people by conducting nocturnal raids.
“If police suspects somebody of supporting the militants they can summon him to the police station or to some other place during the day but ironically they are conducting nocturnal raids on the houses of the youth and subjecting all their family members to harassment. At least seven youth of the area have been arrested during night raids in the past five days,” Larmi said.
He said that the blockade of the busy Anantnag-Kulgam road for the past five days has inconvenienced the common man but the district administration and the police are making no efforts to normalize the situation.
“I have asked the authorities to stop harassing the youth on many occasions but there seems to be no end to the arrests. And if this harassment does not stop soon I will organise a massive protest at the district headquarters,” he said.