‘Army beat up entire village at non-local’s behest’

SRINAGAR: Residents of Kolpora village in south Kulgam district blocked the busy Anantnag-Kulgam road for several hours on Thursday to demand action against army soldiers who they said arrived in the village at 11pm the previous night and started beating everyone, men and women alike.
A large number of both men and women from Kolpora village assembled early in the morning on the Anantnag-Kulgam road near Sundroo. They shouted anti-army slogans and blocked the road, disrupting the traffic movement for many hours.
“Army soldiers came just a few minutes after the Tarawih prayers ended and they barged into our houses. They beat everyone inside and ransacked the household goods,” a villager, Bashir Ahmad Dar, told reporters. 
He said that the army soldiers did not even spare the women. “They tore off the clothes of my wife and daughter after they tried to resist,” Dar said. 
The protesting villagers said that the army soldiers also broke the window panes of the Jamia Masjid. “During the past 20 years we have never witnessed a scene like this. The way they barged into the houses and started beating inmates, it seemed they had come with the intent to kill everyone in the village,” Ghulam Rasool Dar, a resident of Kolpora, said.
“We demand action to be taken against the army soldiers and compensation to the villagers whose houses and other household goods were damaged,” Dar said.
The villagers blamed a non-local, whom they had asked to leave the village, for bringing the army to harass them.
“A non-local, Ram Pal, had been staying in our village for the past several years. Seeing his suspicious activities, some villagers had a day before asked him to leave the village. He had threatened to teach the entire village a lesson,” the protesting villagers told reporters, emphasising, “Whatever happened in the village was done on his behest.” 
The protest finally ended when officers of police and civil administration assured of a fair probe into the matter, and promised action against the culprits. 
“I have asked the SHO and Tehsildar of Kulgam to submit a report. The non-local at whom villagers have pointed fingers has also been taken into custody by the police,” Kulgam Deputy Commissioner Showkat Ahmad told Kashmir Reader.
SP Kulgam Irshad Ahmad said that the police had lodged an FIR against the non-local. “Yes, we have arrested a non-local on the basis of allegations levelled against him by the villagers, and have registered an FIR against him,” he said.