SRINAGAR: A 30-year-old college lecturer of English was beaten to death on Wednesday night in his village of Shar-e-Shali in Khrew area of Pampore by soldiers of the Indian army’s 50 RR camp in the area, locals said. The army attacked the village late on Wednesday night and dragged away hundreds of youth to its camp. The block medical officer (BMO) of Pampore said that more than a hundred persons have been injured in the night attack. Locals said that the army soldiers used hammers, iron rods, wooden and fiber-made batons to beat villagers, among whom was English teacher Shabir Ahmad Mangoo, who was declared brought dead at Pampore hospital at 5.30 am on Thursday morning. Among the hundreds of others injured brought to hospital was former sarpanch of the village, Abdul Ahad Sheikh.
The village of Shar-e-Shali lies some 20 km north-east of Srinagar. It is divided into two parts, Shar A and Shar B. According to locals, stone-fighting used to take place in Hadipora, Chalkhar and Moang areas in Shar B. These three areas are located 1-2 km away from the army’s 50 RR camp in Shar-e-Shali. No civilian casualty or critical injury had been reported in these three areas since the uprising began on July 8, which suggests that protests here were not very violent in nature. In the Shar A area, there have been no protests at all. But on Wednesday night, army soldiers attacked localities in both the areas, one by one. They thrashed young and old, men and women, on a day when stone-throwing had occurred only in one locality, that of Hadipora.
On Wednesday morning, Abdul Ahad said, an army captain visited him, seeking his support because he was a ‘bashour shehri (disciplined subject)’ to prevent anti-India protests in the three villages. Ahad agreed. He was scheduled to meet army officers in the RR camp on Thursday.
“But,” Ahad said, “the army went berserk and beat everybody. When I began to think of what they did, my hands start to twitch, and my head wobbles. It was a doomsday for us. I have never witnessed such barbarity in my life.”
Ahad is a resident of Sheikhpora, which according to him has not protested once in these days. On Wednesday evening, Ahad said, women of nearby village Chalkargam arrived at his home in a state of hysteria. A woman’s husband, Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, and son Waeed Ahmad Sheikh had been dragged away by the army to an unknown location. The women wanted Ahad to intervene and get the duo released.
“I knew there was nothing in my hands that I could have done. But I followed the people. They suggested coming out on streets. I led them. Except pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, we did nothing. While we were on the streets, I heard cries and wailing of women from other villages, too,” Ahad said. “At the square, locals told me that the army had gone berserk in other villages as well.”
Ahad said that while people were assembling at the square, electricity was cut off. After a while, a huge possession of army soldiers with torchlights pointed at the villagers came towards the square.
“I shouted, Sir, listen to us. I am a sarpanch; you have met me in the day. But instead, they beat everybody. I and a dozen others were dragged for 500 meters to an unknown army camp. Our photos were taken with a camera and then we were sent to Pampore police station,” Ahad said.
“In the army camp I saw hundreds of youth. I recognised many, including Shabir. They picked us in four, and Shabir was in my group. In the police station, we were abused by a low-rung police official. I advised him to not do so and asked for a glass of water.”
Ahad said that the station head officer Manzoor Ahmad wept when he saw the villagers’ condition. “He immediately referred us to the nearby hospital,” Ahad said.
“But in the meantime Shabir had succumbed. He had been taken in an army vehicle to Lethpora, where the army told a driver to take the body either to the police station or to the hospital. The frightened driver took the body to the hospital. He told me that the army men had tied up his family in his home; he had to go back to free them,” Ahad said.
Ahad has sustained injuries in his head, legs, and there is a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues of both his hips. While Ahad was beaten at his village, groups of army soldiers went on a rampage in Shapora, Mongu Mohallah, Wani Mohallah, Ganie Mohallah, Sheikh Mohallah, Bapoa, Hadipora, Hajam Mohallah and other areas of Shar-e-Shali village. A dozen of them were shifted to SMHS hospital and admitted in ward number 18.
Ali Mohammad of Hadipora had his three sons admitted in the same ward. All of them had bruises on their back, shoulders and legs. On their buttocks, solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues was visible.
“They entered my home at 10:30 pm, broke window panes, doors and other appliances of the home. My 4-year-old niece was thrown against the wall. I and my family members were roused from bed and dragged to the army camp. After we were beaten, we returned home at 3:45 pm,” Riyaz, one of the sons of Ali Mohammad, said.
Umer, 17, a youth from Wani Mohallah, said he and his family members were made to crawl for 500 metres before they were taken to the army camp.
“While we were crawling, the armymen beat us with iron rods. If somebody shouted, he was beaten more severely. The beatings intensified when we refused to shout on their call, ‘Jai Hind, Bharat Mata Ki Jai (Long Live India)’. They said to us, ‘Burhan tumhara baap nahi, India army hai (Burhan is not your father, Indian army is),” Umer said.
Meanwhile, Hindustan Times reported that Indian Army has ordered a probe into the death of Shabir Ahmad Mangoo.