Houses in Hajin ‘vandalised’, locals ‘beaten’ after stones hurled at army convoy

Houses in Hajin ‘vandalised’, locals ‘beaten’ after stones hurled at army convoy

Bandipora: Residents of three localities in Hajin town of Bandipora alleged on Friday that government forces beat them up and ransacked their houses after clashes broke out between local youths and army soldiers in the morning.
Local sources said that an army convoy was pelted with stones near the main market, after which army men came down from their vehicles and began chasing away the stone-pelters. In the meanwhile police reached the spot and this escalated the clashes. Local residents alleged that army soldiers and policemen ransacked their property in localities of Mir Mohalla, Syed Mohallah and Khos Mohalla while searching for the stone-throwing youths.
“The forces ransacked property, including vehicles, and broke windowpanes of various houses,” several residents of these localities said.
The residents said that “the forces came in huge number, giving the impression that they were about to cordon off the area in search of militants.”
Ghulam Mohammad, a resident of Mir Mohalla, said, “Besides ransacking our house, forces damaged several other houses by knocking down the doors.”
A resident of the adjoining Syed Mohallah said that his windowpanes were shattered by the troops and they “kept knocking down everything which came in their way inside my house.”
Some witnesses said that many students were also beaten while they were returning from tuitions. A student said that “we were used like shields against the stones that were being pelted on forces.”
A local police official said that “the clashes were minor and no property was damaged or ransacked.” He said that the police swung into action after local youths pelted stones on an army convoy at the main market in Hajin.
“We used teargas shells to disperse the youth,” he said.
The clashes led to a shutdown in Hajn town.
Army spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia said, “Army did not damage or ransack any property or beat up any student in Hajin.”