Ramazan ‘ceasefire’: Men in uniform try to set ablaze houses, with people inside, at night

Ramazan ‘ceasefire’: Men in uniform try to set ablaze houses, with people inside, at night
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One house belongs to JeM militant, the other close to a militant’s house; police register case, assure family

PULWAMA: Four family members of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant Adil Ahmad Dar – his father, mother and two brothers – suffered burn injuries after masked men in uniform sprinkled petrol on their house and on stacks of paddy straw outside, then set them ablaze. The incident happened in the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday in Badibagh village of Kakapora, in Pampore area of Pulwama district. Another family in Samboora village in the same area suffered the same attack, their house also sprayed with petrol and set on fire by “two masked men in uniform”.
Adil Ahmad Dar (alias Waqas) joined militant ranks in March this year. In Samboora village, the house that was set ablaze was near the house of an active militant from the village.
Ghulam Hassan Dar, the father of Adil Ahmad Dar, said that on Wednesday morning at about 7 ’o clock, a Casper vehicle of the army’s Rashtriya Rifles was patrolling the village and soldiers were clicking photos and making videos of his house. Ghulam Hassan said he did not give the matter much attention as such acts were routine on the part of army men.
“But during the night some masked men in uniform sprayed petrol on our house and on stacks of paddy straw, then set the straw ablaze and threw it on our house, which also caught fire. The fire was doused soon by the locals and our family members,” Ghulam Hassan said.
He said that all the family members would have been engulfed in the fire had his elder son not smelled petroleum and seen some splashes of it coming into his room.
“It was the blessing of Almighty Allah that my elder son smelled the oil. He told me that somebody was spraying petrol on our house,” Ghulam Hassan said, adding that he did not allow his children to move out but instead went out himself to see what was happening.
As soon as he stepped out, he said, two men in uniform with their faces covered threw a bunch of burning straw towards the door, setting the house on fire.
Ghulam Hassan said he reported the attack to police station Kakapora, where the police registered a case. He said the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP assured him of proper investigation into the matter.
The Station House Officer (SHO) Kakapora told Kashmir Reader that police have registered a case, FIR No 13/2018, under Section 436 and 323 of the RPC against “unknown persons”.
The news of the attack on Dar’s house led to clashes and protests in Kakapora on Thursday. Shops and business establishments were closed and traffic also went off the roads. Eyewitness said that intense clashes between youth and government forces took place at Kakapora Chowk. They said that government forces fired teargas shells to disperse the protestors.
The protesters were demanding action against the army, whom they accused of committing such a cowardly and vile act that could have charred a
family to death, eyewitness told Kashmir Reader.
Another family in Samboora village, that of Javed Ahmad Dar, was also attacked with the same attempted arson during the night.
“Due to absence of glass panes in the windows of my house, I soon smelled the inflammable oil. When I stepped out, I saw two masked men in uniform
running out of the compound of my house. They had left behind a few bottles of petrol,” Javed said, adding that he could not understand the reason why his house was being targeted.
Javed said he later realised that his house was in close vicinity of an active militant’s house, which could be the reason for this attack.
Police station Pampore has registered a case in the incident.
SSP Pulwama Mohammad Aslam Choudhry told Kashmir Reader that police have registered a case and investigations are on. “This act could have been done by anyone: some miscreant, militants themselves, or even the security forces,” he said.
He said he had assured the Dar family that those involved in the incident would be taken to task.
Locals said that they had no doubt in their minds that the attack was carried out by government forces. Elders of the village said that those involved in the attack must be booked and taken to task.