SRINAGAR: In the third week of November 2016, when the summer uprising had calmed down in most of the valley areas, Beighpora locality of Kralgund village in Kupwara district was still restive. People in this locality still sang azadi songs on streets and mosque loudspeakers, until police picked up 28 of the inhabitants in one go, 11 of them from a single clan.
After the arrest, Beighpora, the epicenter of Kralgund, a cluster of villages with a population of about 50,000, never erupted again.
Among the 28, some were released the same day, many where confined for several days, and a few were detained. Locals recall it as the first ever biggest arrest spree in the area.
“During the uprising Beighpora was like old Srinagar. Once protests started, the entire village used to follow it,” said a local, Mohammad Arif.
Two of the locals were accused of dumping stones from tractors for use by stone pelters. A teacher was questioned for being an ‘instigator’ and for the same charges he was suspended later. One of the detained was a guest to a family.
“They (police) raided our home and told us that all villagers have assembled in the community park. I did not find all locals there but a police vehicle there and some of my close relatives. We were bundled in the vehicle and taken to Kralgund police station,” said one of the detained men.
“Throughout the day we were questioned about protests in the locality,” he added.
Station House officer Kralgund police station Mohammad Azam Khan said the locality has been the “most volatile” in north Kashmir during the uprising.
“But we deployed multi-pronged strategies to bring peace without any causality. Although my police station was attacked three times, we maintained restraint. Every day we, along with senior officers, used to sit, and think about the ways to bring peace. Every Friday, the SSP and the SDPO would lead from the front to prevent causalities,” Azam told Kashmir Reader.
“We used to talk to village elders and request them to persuade the youth.
We also counselled the youth directly. The result is that we have a peaceful area,” he added.