Villagers in Shopian accuse army of assault, vandalism; army denies

Villagers in Shopian accuse army of assault, vandalism; army denies
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SHOPIAN: Army soldiers allegedly attacked Shopian’s Pinjora village and vandalised private property, twice on the same day. Residents of the village told Kashmir Reader that army soldiers assaulted civilians and fired bullets in the air in the village on Wednesday and warned they would return in the night. The soldiers did as they said, arriving in the village at midnight and then barging into residential houses and beating up the people sleeping there, the locals said.
A group of villagers said that a contingent of army vehicles arrived in the village late at night and the soldiers forcibly entered houses. An elderly man from Pinjora said, “They told us in the morning yesterday that they will come during the night and teach us a lesson. They came during the night and ruthlessly beat people and damaged property.”
A housewife alleged that the army soldiers entered her house in the dead of night. “Where should we go, they beat us in our houses and nobody is listening to us. Isn’t there anyone to stop them from assaulting and beating innocent civilians?” she lamented.
Villagers said that during the night assault, the soldiers also snatched away the identity cards of several persons. “They first beat us and then snatched our identity cards. They asked us to come to the army camp to fetch them,” a resident of the village said.
Villagers said that the soldiers damaged more property in the night than they did during the day.
Srinagar-based army spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, refuted the claims of locals and said that “no soldier was involved in any kind of ransacking, beating of people, or damaging anything.”
“Why should our soldiers beat civilians? These allegations are baseless,” he said.