SRINAGAR: To prevent government forces from carrying out night raids and arrests, youths in many areas of south Kashmir not only block roads and lanes leading to their localities but also patrol streets throughout the night.
In Panzath village of district Kulgam, at least 50 people, mostly youths, from various Mohallas guard the village every night. The practice started three weeks ago after the forces allegedly entered the village and a nearby hamlet and harassed the residents by throwing stones at houses.
“We render the village nearly inaccessible for forces’ vehicles by blocking all the roads leading to the village with huge stones and logs,” said a villager, Aziz.
He said the list of the youth to be deputed for night rounds is prepared every morning in consultation with the elderly.
Similarly in Dabruna village in the vicinity of Anantnag town, as many as 20 youths guard the village every night to prevent the forces from carrying out nocturnal raids.
The practice, according to locals, started a week ago after government forces raided several houses of the village and arrested an elderly man whose son is wanted by the police.
“Youth block a long patch of the only link road leading to the village late in the evening besides guarding the hamlet at its entrance every night. Road blockade during the nights at least prevents the forces from driving their vehicles up to the houses making it difficult for them to make arrests,” said the locals.
In Seer Hamdan township of Anantnag, where a youth was killed and nearly one hundred others were injured during clashes last night, more than hundred youths keep guarding the area against night raids by forces.
“We have been doing this for the past week. It was due to the road blockade and patrolling by village youth that the forces who had come to make arrests last night did not succeed,” a local told Kashmir Reader over phone.
In Bogam village of Kulgam, where a huge unity rally was organized recently, about two dozen youths guard the village every night.