A month after gunfight near home, sole bread earner languishes behind bars

A month after gunfight near home, sole bread earner languishes behind bars
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Militants were killed in a nearby orchard

SP0PORE: Nearly a month after two militants and an army soldier were killed in an intense gun battle at Drusoo village of Sopore in Baramulla district, Bilal Ahmed Bhat, 38, a local baker, picked up by government forces continues to be behind bars.
The gunfight between government forces and militants on August 4 had lasted entire night.
“Bhat’s small hutment is located outside the main village of Drusoo of Rafiabad area near the orchards where the militants were trapped. He was arrested by government forces on that night only although the militants were not in my brother’s home,” Bashir Ahmed Bhat, younger brother of Bilal told Kashmir Reader.
Bashir, 34, whose house is situated right next to his elder brother Bilal’s house, works as a salesman in local poultry and was also arrested along with his brother but was released after five days of detention.
“I was taken along with forces search party during night to search our houses. I told them that there is no one in our house but they didn’t listen and searched our houses but found no militants in our houses, but instead of releasing us they took both of us along and beat us ruthlessly. Now a month has passed, I still cannot sleep properly because to body pain due to beatings,” Bashir told Kashmir Reader.
The hutments around the orchard came under intense gunfire during the night. When Bashir was sent to check on his home the next morning, he said he found his two goats lying dead.
“Upon my return, I told the forces that there was no militant in the house. Instead, my livestock has perished,” Bashir noted.
After the gunfight ended, Bashir said, he was again sent by the troopers to fetch the bodies of the militants in the orchard and subsequently arrested.
“I was released five days later because I was not involved in anything. Similarly, my brother is innocent, who is the sole bread earner of his family. There is no justification for this continued detention,” Bhat added.
The encounter in Drusoo involved drones and helicopters, concertina wires and generators to locate and trap the militants, who took full advantage of dense orchards and corn fields to launch counter attacks, which resulted in injury to two policemen and death of an army soldier.
Senior Superintendent of Sopore, Police, Javid Iqbal confirmed to Kashmir Reader that Bilal Ahmad Bhat from Drusoo was in our custody. He said he has been arrested on charges of a militancy-related case against him.

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