KR reporter suffers fate of Shopian villagers: being forced by army to sit and be ‘clicked’

KR reporter suffers fate of Shopian villagers: being forced by army to sit and be ‘clicked’
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SHOPIAN: The army has come up with a new “tease”, the sort of harassment unique to the Indian army in Kashmir, in villages of Shopian: clicking the photos of people against their will and then uploading the photos on social media. This reporter himself experienced the humiliation, which, on being resisted, was met with abuse and menacing threat from the soldiers.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that this process is going on for a fortnight. They said that soldiers from different army camps come to villages and start clicking photographs of civilians, mostly youths, with mobile phone cameras. They said that if someone refuses to get clicked, he is abused or summoned to an army camp.
“They (army) do these things in village areas where they see a lesser number of young people at a particular place,” said a villager from Trenz area of Shopian.
Another villager said that army soldiers forcibly ask people to sit in a row and then one or two soldiers sit beside them, for a photograph.
“These acts of the army make us scared. We don’t know what they will do with the photos,” said Muhammad Rafiq, a resident of Pargochi village.
A group of young people from Trenz complained that there was no basis or justification for the army to be taking photos of civilians against their will. “Is there any provision in law under which we are being photographed by the army?” asked one of them, Farooq Ahmad.
A government teacher, requesting anonymity, said that his photo was uploaded on a Facebook page after it was clicked by army soldiers at a village in Pinjora area.
This reporter himself was made to sit in a row with other people for the soldiers to take photographs. When I tried to resist, one soldier threatened, “Tere ko charbi chadhi hai, utaar denge abhi (You have put on too much fat, we will remove it in a moment).” They even snatched my identity card and mobile phone, which they returned after clicking photos of me.
When contacted, Srinagar-based army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said he will verify the facts first. “I will first verify the facts and then I will inform you accordingly,” he said.