Anantnag: Street clashes and alleged vandalism by government forces were reported from Vessu area of Qazigund on Friday evening, where locals blocked the national highway to demand release of two youths detained by the army.
One of the two detained youths was half-blinded by pellets in 2016. The army detained them in Sadoora village near Vessu on Friday evening. An army official told Kashmir Reader that the boys were detained as they were filming army movement during a routine Area Domination Exercise.
“They have been handed over to the police at Mir Bazar post by our personnel,” the official said.
The detained “pellet-blinded” youth has been identified as Ashiq Malik, son of Abdul Majeed Malik, of Sadoora. The identity of the other youth was not yet known.
DO of the Mir Bazar police post, Sabzar Ahmad, acknowledged that the boys were in their custody. He said they would be later handed over to their parents.
“They were filming army movement and made announcements urging people to come out as army was approaching for an Area Domination Exercise. The army held them and handed them over to us,” he said.
Following the youths’ arrest, hundreds of people reached the national highway and blocked it, demanding their immediate release.
Local sources said that government forces reached the spot and, after failing to convince the people to vacate the spot, started to fire tear smoke shells.
“The forces’ personnel then resorted to vandalism in the area. They smashed window panes and doors of several houses,” local sources told Kashmir Reader.
Clashes were going on in the area while this report was filed.
There were no immediate reports of any injuries during the clashes.
SSP Kulgam, Sreedhar Patil, ignored repeated calls made to him by this reporter.
SDPO Qazigund, Aftab Ahmad, denied the allegations of vandalism. He also said no tear smoke shells were fired.
“The allegations of vandalising property are baseless,” the SDPO said.