Hajin: Two women and another civilian were reportedly injured by pellets in Bon Mohalla area of Hajin in Bandipora district on Monday. Local residents said that government troops set fire to stacks of dried grass, which caused a major fire in the village, and fired pellets at protestors after ransacking villagers’ houses during a cordon and search operation (CASO).
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that intense protests erupted soon after soldiers from the army’s 13 RR, cops from J&K Police’s special operations group (SOG), and paramilitary troops from the CRPF’s 45 battalion launched a CASO in Bon Mohalla Hajin.
Dozens of people came out on roads against the presence of government forces in the area, sources said. Government forces fired pellets at the protesting people, due to which two ladies were injured, the local sources said, adding that the injured women were treated at a local health facility.
A college-going local youth told Kashmir Reader that scores of women took out a protest rally after government troops ransacked houses, damaging windowpanes, and fired pellets in the area. He said there was initially a scare in the area when government forces came rushing in their vehicles, but people showed resistance and held protest demonstrations.
The sources further informed that the government forces called off the CASO soon after the protests increased in intensity.
“The forces entered our house when no one was present there,” said a local from Syed Mohalla of the restive town, requesting that he be not named. “They have broken the window panes and even set afire stacks of dry grass that were lying beside our house,” he said.
The college student said that as many as 15 stacks of dried grass caught fire when tear gas canisters hit them. Such was the spread of the situation that many fire tenders were rushed to the area to douse the flames, he said.
Sources in the Hajin community health centre confirmed that at least three civilians hit by pellets were brought there in the day. They said that the injured were given treatment and discharged. “They were hit by pellets in the head, arm and shoulder,” the sources said.
A senior police officer posted in the area said, “We had reports of presence of militants in the area but now the CASO has been called off, as no contact was established.”
The officer claimed that the government forces neither fired pellets nor set afire any grass.
“The stone-pelters must have set ablaze the grass,” he said.