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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Army smashes woman’s head in Bandipore clash

FIR filed against RR 14th Bn. after severe thrashing of six civilians

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Nov 16: Police on Monday registered a criminal case against a unit of Rashtriya Rifles 14th Battalion after the troops severely thrashed civilian protesters and left six of them wounded in Bandipore, in northern Kashmir. 

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that troops barged into the residence of Noorani Khan at Surrender Gujjarpatti in Chuntimulla village of Bandipore district at around 0300 hours and whisked away cousins Manzoor, Shakoor and Junaid after wrapping their heads with black cloth. They were detained and intensely interrogated at a camp of RR 14th Bn near Chuntimulla with the allegation that they had harboured some militants in recent past. 

Army has conducted a chain of cordon-and-search operations in a vast forest area from Bandipore to Boothu in search of the militants of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba after they shot dead J&K Police’s ace counterinsurgent, Sub Inspector Altaf Dar, at Gund-e-Dachhin village on October 7. On two occasions, troops during the operation were fired upon by militants but none of them could be arrested or killed. 

During the course of the search operation on Monday, troops swooped down on Noorani Khan’s house and lifted three of the family members for sustained interrogation. 

In the morning at around 0800 hours, a large number of the residents of Kudara, Sumlar, Surrender Gujjarpatti and other Chuntimulla hamlets gathered at the Army camp. They shouted slogans with the allegation that the troops had arrested and physically tortured “innocent civilians” who, the gathering claimed, had no links to militants. 

After a while, troops came out and severely thrashed scores of the demonstrators. Officials claimed that the clash took place after the “mob” attacked the camp and a bunker of Army. 

However, residents of Chuntimulla, who insisted to remain anonymous, told STATE TIMES that the soldiers mercilessly thrashed men and women. Six protesters, who included two Gujjar women, Sakeena and Reshma, were left wounded. Reshma’s head was smashed with a baton and she bled profusely while being rushed to District Hospital of Bandipore. 

Three of the injured, namely Reshma, Junaid Khan and Hussain Khan were referred to SKIMS Soura for specialised treatment. Three more, including two of the detained youths, Manzoor and Shakoor, were treated at District Hospital Bandipore. 

Sources said that the protesters in the afternoon gathered in Bandipore town and staged a demonstration outside Deputy Commissioner’s office. They demanded arrest registration of “attempted murder” case against the officers of RR 14th Bn involved in severe manhandling and thrashing of the civilians and their arrest. 

Superintendent of Police Choudhary Shabir said that Police received a written complaint and FIR “is being registered against Army”. Later, an official source told STATE TIMES that FIR No: 161/2015 was registered against officers of RR 14 Bn. “We have taken cognizance and will initiate an investigation”, SP Bandipore Mr Choudhary said. 

DC Bandipore Sajjad Hussain Ganai, who was not reachable on telephone, is reported to have ordered a separate magisterial inquiry which would be conducted by Assistant Commissioner Revenue Massarat Hashim. 

Meanwhile, Chairman of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and some other separatist leaders in their statements issued late in the evening condemned Army’s alleged excesses on the civilian protesters in Bandipore. 


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