SHOPIAN: Army soldiers on Monday afternoon allegedly vandalised 60 houses, including the house of an active militant, and also vehicles and orchards at Sugan village of Shopian district. Villagers told Kashmir Reader that at about 1:15pm, almost a 100 personnel from the army’s 44RR garrison at Chipora came to the village and began damaging vehicles, windowpanes of residential houses, and several orchards.
Wakeel Ahmad, an orchard owner, asked why the army was targeting innocent civilians. “They have chopped the branches of a dozen trees in my orchard. They damaged fruits of several neighbouring orchards,” he said, identifying the persons whose orchards were damaged as Abdul Ahad Shah, Muhammad Amin Ganie, Ghulam Nabi Ganie, Gul Muhammad Ganie, Bashir Ahmad Ganie, all residents of Sugan, and Abdul Salam, a resident of nearby Turkwangam.
Villagers said that army soldiers damaged everything that came their way. “It’s a barbaric act and we will not bow before such activities. Our fight for independence will continue,” a villager said.
Locals said that soldiers also barged into the house of an active militant, Zeenat-ul-Islam, and damaged the property inside, including washing machine, geyser, windowpanes, utensils and food items. Ghulam Hassan Shah, father of Zeenat, told Kashmir Reader, “My son left home and took up arms three years ago. Either he will attack them or they will attack him, but why are we being targeted? They vandalised our house, stole the laptop of my younger son, Rs 22,000 from our locker, spoiled and threw away food items, and damaged everything inside our house.”
He added that soldiers asked his daughter-in-law to call him on his cell phone and when she took out her cell phone, the soldiers snatched her phone.
When this reporter reached Sugan village, people were clearing the shattered glass of the windowpanes and collecting the food items which were thrown out by the soldiers.
Srinagar based Defence spokesman, Colonial Rajesh Kalia told Kashmir Reader that “details with respect to the allegations are being ascertained”.