Human Rights

Troopers on a beating spree in Pattan, 20 injured

By Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: Following a shootout in north Kashmir’s Pattan town on 10 November in which two CRPF personnel were killed, at least 20 persons were injured when troopers and police allegedly went on a beating spree in the area. Six persons were also detained from the neighbouring Palhallan area.

A partial shutdown was observed in the entire valley even as curfew was imposed in some parts of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

The locals of Pattan said that troopers barged into the residential houses and a girls’ school and beat inmates and some teachers.

Early morning, the residents stated, the troops comprising of 29 RR, CRPF and SOG, brandishing sticks and sophisticated weapons started house to house searches in different Pattan localities like Gojri Mohalla, Jamia Mohalla, Wani Mohalla, Ahangar Mohalla. The residents said that troops beat the inmates without any reason.

The locals also blamed troopers of smashing window panes and damaging houses. They said that due to intimidation by troops, many youth had to flee from the area to save themselves from getting beaten. The resident said that the beating spree started in the evening when troops and police laid siege of Bazaar Mohalla, Kandhar Mohalla, Gashiwara, Teli Mohalla, Gori Mohalla, Wani Mohalla and Sofi Mohalla.

In Palhallan, the locals said, police and CRPF raided Tantray Mohalla and detained six youths. “They also beat people,” a local said.

The CRPF troopers along with army also allegedly barged into Girls Middle School Goshbug and went on a beating spree.
“Panic spread in the entire school,” an eyewitness said, adding, “They beat up teachers.”

The school authorities said three teachers were injured due to beating by troops. They identified the teachers as Aijaz A Rather, Zahoor A Sofi and Fayaz Ahmad.

Hospital authorities said they treated six people with one having grievous wound. They said Abdul Majid Gojri received six stitches in his head as he was severely beaten by the troopers.

One local Doctor, Dr. Nissar Ahmad Wani, was also beaten. Munir Ahmad Zargar, Asif Majid, Shabir Ahmad Bhat, Muhammad Ramzan and Abdul Gaffar received minor injuries.

CRPF spokesman Prabhakar Tripathi termed the whole incident as “false allegations.” “No such type of incident has been reported to us. We are unaware of any such happening,” Tripathi said.

Army spokesman did not respond despite repeated calls from Greater Kashmir.

Teachers Forum has condemned the attack on the teachers and urged the authorities to take action against the erring army men.

“It is second incident in the district where school teachers have been targeted. Though we were assured last time by the authorities that such incidents will not be allowed to happen in the future but this fresh incident indicates that the teachers community is being deliberately targeted,” said the district president of the Forum, Muhammad Rafiq Rather.

In past few months several schools in the district were targeted by the police and troopers. At Sangrama Sopore, teachers and the students were thrashed by the troopers after a stone was pelted on their vehicle.

At Bakhipora Rafiabad, teachers in a Government school were threatened by police after the former refused to show them the attendance register.

Pertinently, the Minister for Education had issued an order asking police and forces not to enter in the premises of any school.

Meanwhile, a partial strike paralyzed life in Srinagar. Many shops, business establishments and private offices remained closed. Public transport largely remained off the roads due to the strike. However street vendors were seen on the roads.

In north Kashmir, life was paralyzed due to the strike and curfew in Palhalan and Delina areas.

The main bridges in Baramulla- Azad Bridge, Cement Bridge and SRTC Bridge- which connect old town with civil lines area were sealed by the police and paramilitary CRPF. Shutdown was observed in the entire area with no reports of violence reported from any area.

The town witnessed violence for two consecutive days on Tuesday and Wednesday after a local youth, whom police claims to be a wanted stone pelter, was arrested.

In Sopore also life came to a grinding halt though some vehicles plied on the roads.

In South Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag), Shopian and other areas, complete strike was observed. There were no reports of any untoward incident.

The strike call was given by Hurriyat (G) as part of its protest calendar. Police said situation remained normal and under control in the entire valley. (With Altaf Baba in Baramulla)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2010 on page no. 11

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