Srinagar: A special police officer (SPO) is among three persons held for throwing stones at tourist vehicles in Nagbal area in the outskirts of Srinagar city on Saturday. The three were brought to police by drivers and conductors of the tourist vehicles, who lured them to a meeting and caught hold of them at Muniwar.
Tourism department has termed the incident unfortunate, one that gives “bad name for Kashmir”. Police, however, has said that the arrest was because of a confusion and they were investigating the matter. No FIR has been lodged in the case yet.
Reports said that a cavalcade of 12 tourist busses was travelling back from Sonmarg when they were attacked with stones at Nagbal Chowk. “Their (stone throwers) specific target was the tourist vehicles,” said Ashiq Ahmad, who drives a vehicle that was part of the cavalcade.
“Around 6 pm, we were carrying tourists in 12 busses. At Nagbal chowk, some people started throwing stones at the busses. No other vehicle was targeted except tourist busses,” said Ahmad, adding that tourists panicked on seeing rocks hitting the vehicles.
Ahmad said that girl students had been protesting at Nagbal chowk when the incident took place. “The girls moved peacefully, but some people started throwing stones at tourist vehicles,” he said. “The CRPF and police present at the spot did not take any action”.
During the incident, some drivers and conductors caught hold of a person throwing stones and took his cell phone and car keys. Later they asked the person to collect the keys from Muniwar chowk. The person arrived with two accomplices, and drivers caught hold of them. “When we checked their identity cards, one of them was carrying a police ID,” said Ahmad.
The drivers informed Khanyar police station and handed over the trio to them. They were later shifted to Zakura Police station. “We called Khanyar Police station when we found one of the person was carrying Police identity card, they rushed to the spot and took them into custody,” Said Ahmad.
Speaking to Kashmir Reader, Director Tourism Mehmood Shah, said that the incident was unfortunate and the department has contacted police authorities to look into the matter. Shah appealed people not to harass the tourists. “Incidents like these gives bad name to Kashmir,” he said.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, Dr Rameez Raja said that police was investigating the incident, but no FIR has been registered so far. He said that the trio were being questioned about a previous incident of stone pelting in degree college Ganderbal.
Raja said that the SPO was not involved and had accompanied another person whose phone had been taken by the drivers. “He (SPO) wasn’t part of the incident,” the DySP said.