By Mir Tariq
Bandipora, J& K, India, (Greater Kashmir): Scores of persons were injured, two of them critically, when [Indian] Army allegedly went on rampage in five villages after their cavalcade was stoned in Ashtango area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
Besides, Army arrested around 30 youth and handed them over to police.
Amid stringent curfew-like restrictions, protests continued to rock Bandipora against Ramban incident in which four civilians were killed and dozens others injured in paramilitary BSF firing.
Witnesses said that Army cavalcade of 27 RR Commanding Officer was stoned by protestors at Ashtengo village following which Army went on rampage and thrashed people in five villages of the district leaving scores of people injured, including several women.
“Army barged into residential areas of five villages like Kunus, Ashtengo, Aloosa, Qema and Watpora and thrashed everyone whosoever came in their way. They didn’t even spare women,” said a witness, Adil Ahmed. “Army beat Ishfaq Ahmed Shiekh of Watpora to pulp and he was critically injured. He has been referred to Srinagar,” locals of Watpora told Greater Kashmir. Stating that they picked up about 20-30 youths from different localities after their cavalcade was stoned, an officer in 27 RR told Greater Kashmir that they have handed over all the youths to police who were later released. “We approached elders in various villages requesting them to advise their youths. No villager was harassed,” the Army officer sad.
Meanwhile, clashes continued to rock Bandipora, Hajin, Sumbal, Naidikhai despite authorities continuing with restrictions to thwart any demonstration. The main roads and streets were dotted with police and paramilitary troopers.
Life continues to remain paralyzed as educational institutions, banks, government and private offices remained closed while the public and private transport remained off the roads. Some vehicles plied outside town limits. In main town Bandipora, youths took to streets at main Gulshan Chowk.
The protesters raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, attempted to take out processions at various places. Police, however, swung into action and cane-charged the protesters who responded by pelting stones.
Situation remained tense as police and protesters fought pitched battles that continued for the whole day. “Police fired dozens of teargas shells when protesters gave stiff resistance to police action resulting in fierce clashes which left at least five persons injured,” sources said.
The clashes continued the whole day till deployment was removed. Later in the evening when the troopers were returning to their barracks, youth again regrouped and resorted to heavy stone pelting at several places in the town.
Large contingents of police and paramilitary forces were deployed in Hajin, Sumbal and all the entry and exit points were sealed.
However, people held peaceful protest demonstrations at several places including Papchan, Hajin and Asham. Heavy deployment of the police and the paramilitary forces was made on the roads in Hajin, while barricades and razor wires were erected at the various places on the Hajin-Sumbal road. “Youths took to roads and engaged police and paramilitary forces in pitched battles and later pelted stones on police station Bandipora,” witness said.
MEANWHILE, clashes continued to rock Bandipora, Hajin, Sumbal, Naidikhai despite authorities continuing with restrictions to thwart any demonstration. The main roads and streets were dotted with police and paramilitary troopers. Life continued to remain paralyzed as educational institutions, banks, government and private offices remained closed while the public and private transport remained off the roads. Some vehicles plied outside town limits.