Budgam villagers say of army: ‘They have made our lives hell’

Budgam villagers say of army: ‘They have made our lives hell’
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Junaid Dar

Chrar—e-Sharif: Residents of Pakherpora village in Budgam district are feeling harassed and fearful due to frequent night raids conducted by security forces. Villagers alleged that army soldiers beat up and arrest young boys without any reason. The arrested boys are released only after they are thrashed by the army, villagers said.
“We don’t know what they want from us. They come during the night and start conducting searches. They have made our lives hell,” said Ghulam Nabi, a local resident.
“Earlier they damaged our property, now they come and thrash everyone without caring about gender and age. They deal with everyone with guns and sticks,” Nabi said.
Locals said that they approached the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Budgam to complain against the “highhandedness” of the army. “The DC Budgam assured us that he will intervene to bring this harassment to an end. But the army terror continues, showing how much power has been given to the army and that no one can stop them from doing what they want,” another villager said.
Some villagers accused the army of “inhumane acts”, which “provoke” young boys to take to violent means to resist. “If the army will continue such acts, there will be no surprise if young boys take up arms. The state government never wants peace in Kashmir because their masters in the centre (New Delhi) are reaping political benefits from the unrest here,” a local, wishing not to be named, said.
Drivers ferrying on the Pakherpora route also complained that the army forcibly takes over their vehicles for their own use during cordon-and-search operations and raids. “Sometimes we are forced to drop passengers midway, even at late hours. The army doesn’t care about the security of these people,” a driver from Pakherpora told Kashmir Reader.
Station House Officer (SHO) Pakherpora Imtiyaz Ahmad refuted the allegations made by the locals against the army. “As per my knowledge, no such incident happened in the village. We have not received any written complaint from the villagers,” the SHO said.
On the complaint of drivers, he said, “I brought the army captain to the police station and warned him to not take over vehicles from drivers. He assured that such acts will not be repeated.”