Total Pageviews

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mob torches 15 GREF sheds in Tulail, 12 labourers injured

Bandipore ‘desecration’ flames engulf Gurez-Tulail area, reinforcements rushed

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 17: Even as Police placed most of the Valley’s separatist leaders under house arrest and succeeded in preventing demonstrations at the major flashpoints of Bandipore, Sopore and Baramulla, residents of different villages of the border area of Gurez today took out a major procession to protest alleged desecration of a holy scripture. Later a mob attacked a camp of Project Beacon’s GREF at village Hussan on Dawar-Tulail Road, torching 15 sheds and causing injuries to 12 Bihari labourers who have all fled the site and taken refuge at a camp of Rashtriya Rifles 51 Bn.

Authoritative sources at Dawar, capital town of the border valley of Gurez in Bandipore district, told Early Times that nearly 2,000 people of different villages of Gurez and Tulail today converged at the Tehsil headquarters and staged a demonstration to protest an incident of desecration of a holy book at Tragbal---a small village on 86-Km Bandipore-Gurez Road. According to reports, labourers working with GREF had found one of three copies of the holy book missing on Friday last at a makeshift place of worship and later found some torn off pages in close vicinity of their camp. On their complaint, Police Station Bandipore registered a criminal case and detained 10 of the Bihari labourers, all belonging to one particular religion.

Apprehending shutdown, demonstrations and clashes with Police, authorities imposed restrictions in certain areas of Bandipore and Baramulla districts in North Kashmir on Saturday as well as today. Even as the infamous flashpoint of Sopore remained by and large calm and composed, people observed shutdown in Bandipore and Baramulla district headquarters. On Saturday, groups of youth in both the major towns shouted anti-government and pro-Azadi slogans and clashed with Police after a long pause of calm for over three months.

Fearing trouble, Police maintained siege around the residences of most of the separatist leaders. While none of them was permitted to move out, nearly two dozen of the lower level separatist activists were reportedly detained at different Police Stations. Hardline faction of the Hurriyat, headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, complained that a number of its leaders and activists were taken into custody and detained for the day in their attempts of converging for a remembrance ceremony at the ‘Martyrs Graveyard’ of Iddgah in Srinagar.

With many shops shut in Bandipore continuously on the second day today, trouble erupted in the unexpected border villages of Gurez and Tulail, far across the Razdan Pass. Sources at the garrison township of Dawar said that the 2,000-strong demonstration enforced shutdown in Gurez-Tulail belt and later headed towards a camp of the Project Beacon’s GREF at village Hussan, midway on Dawar-Tulail Road. While shouting slogans, the mob swooped on the camp and torched 15 sheds of the Bihari labourers working with GREF. Twelve labourers sustained injuries in the stampede while fleeing for safety. Sources said that all the labourers took refuge at a camp of Rashtriya Rifles 51 Bn.

According to a complaint filed by incharge of the GREF camp, Hussan, Captain Kuldeep Singh, a mob attacked the camp and set on fire sheds of the non-J&K labourers. Captain Singh reported in the complaint with Police Station Dawar--- which was later shifted to Police Station Tulail for jurisdiction---that 15 sheds of the Bihari labourers were torched by the mob and 12 of the targeted labourers sustained injuries. Police sources confirmed the mob attack on the camp and participation of 1500 people in the procession but claimed that only 80 to 100 people succeeded in reaching the camp.

Authoritative sources in Srinagar said that Police and paramilitary reinforcements today rushed to the disturbed areas of Gurez and Tulail. However, they had not reached their destinations till late this evening. None among Divisional Commissioner, Asgar Hassan Samoon, who is himself a resident of Gurez, DC Bandipore, Manzoor Ahmad Lone, and SP Bandipore, Bashir Ahmad Khan, responded to phonecalls from this newspaper.


No comments: