PINJORA: The grim tally of incidents of forces assaulting civilians and vandalising private property began for 2018 in Shopian district’s Pinjora village on Wednesday where dozens of parked vehicles, residential houses and shops were ransacked and civilians were assaulted at the hands of army troopers.
Pinjora residents told Kashmir Reader that army men went “berserk” in the village without any reason, damaging dozens of parked vehicles, motorcycles and shops. The villagers said that when they protested the forces’ highhandedness, the troopers resorted to ariel firing in the village, creating panic in the area.
They said that the windowpanes of about 12 houses and two dozen parked vehicles were damaged in the assault.
The villagers said that there was no protest or stone pelting in the village but that the forces started beating people and ransacking private property as soon as they de-boarded their vehicles. An employee of Jammu and Kashmir Bank said that the forces smashed all the windowpanes of the bank building.
Police sources said that there had recently been clashes between government forces and protesters during a cordon and search operation (CASO) in Pinjora village, which later ended without establishing contact with militants.
Ghulam Muhammad Beig, an elderly Pinjora resident, said that the forces beat everyone who came their way. “They beat me with sticks and gun butts despite my being 70 years old,” he said.
Villagers added that the forces entered several houses and beat the inmates, including women and children. “They (the forces) entered my house and beat my two sons and husband without any reason,” a housewife from the village said.
Last year around 25 villages of the district came under attack during CASOs and in nocturnal raids. The villages assaulted in 2017 include: Turkwangam, Maldera, Kannipora, Wathoo, Brethipora, Vehil, Sandoo Shirmal and several other villages of the district.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Shopian, SA Dinkar told Kashmir Reader that vehicles belonging to the army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles came under unprovoked stone pelting. “To disperse the mob, some ariel shots were fired. Later the mob dispersed, and army vehicles proceeded on their course. Nobody was injured, however; the situation was normal,” he said.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Srinagar-based Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia refuted the claims of ransack and of people being beaten. “No damage to property or ransack took place, nor was anyone beaten by the soldiers,” he said.