SRINAGAR: A group of drunk CRPF troopers went berserk in Habba Kadal area of Srinagar on Wednesday evening, ransacking several shops and damaging private vehicles, local residents told Kashmir Reader. A complete shutdown was observed on Thursday by the local shopkeepers, who warned they will continue it till the CRPF camp is not removed.
President of Traders Association Habba Kadal Mehrajuddin Giloo told Kashmir Reader that CRPF personnel were celebrating Holi on Wednesday evening at Habba Kadal market. He said that during the events, some personnel used foul language and made aggressive gestures at the shopkeepers. This led to a heated exchange of words. Eventually, the CRPF personnel went berserk and thrashed many shopkeepers.
“They (CRPF personnel) thrashed many local residents including women and children, ransacked shops and smashed windscreens of many private vehicles,” Giloo said.
Locals said that a resident of Bijbehara Fida Hussain Dar was ruthlessly beaten up by the troopers. He was later taken to SMHS Hospital for treatment. Dar had come to the area to visit his relatives.
A grocer, Mohammad Shafi Wada, alleged that his shop was ransacked. A vegetable vendor Manzoor Ahmad Darsequran alleged that troopers threw away vegetables from his shop and abused him.
“The troopers were drunk and attacked passersby and shopkeepers without any provocation,” he said.
The traders said the local CRPF camp has become a perpetual nuisance for the local population and the shopkeepers. “The troopers of the camp generally pass provocative comments on the passersby. They even hurl stones and marbles to provoke youngsters,” Giloo said.
“The CRPF men deliberately provoke youth. They only look for an alibi to beat up youngsters,” Reyaz Ahmad, a local resident alleged.
The traders have called for complete shutdown against the harassment by the government forces and demanded immediate removal of the CRPF camp.
“All the shops and business establishments will remain closed until the CRPF camp is removed from the area,” Giloo said.
He said that the traders of the area lodged a protest with the higher-ups of police and CRPF two months ago and demanded relocation of the camp. “The higher ups assured us that the camp would be relocated but no action was taken later,” Giloo said.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone said that the matter has been brought into his notice. “We are looking into the matter,” Lone told Kashmir Reader.