SRINAGAR: Government forces on Wednesday allegedly unleashed a reign of terror in Boatman colony of Bemina and damaged public property worth thousands of rupees while thrashing several people including women and children.
The residents alleged that government forces comprising local police and paramilitary troopers entered their colony on Tuesday night when “people were carrying out door to door search of the colony and looking for a suspect who according to them was a braid-chopper”.
Manzoor Ahmad, chairman Masjid Al-hilal said that people had managed to confine alleged braid-choppers in 10 to 12 houses by circling the suspicious buildings. He said there was no chance for the braid-chopper to escape. “In the meantime police and CRPF appeared from nowhere in a TATA-207 vehicle and fired teargas-shells, pepper-gas and stun-grenades, and helped him to escape from the spot,” he said. “The so-called security forces took out their entire frustration on us by breaking the window-panes of several houses and vehicles that were parked in the lane. They also beat people irrespective of their age and gender.”
A youth in his late twenties while wishing anonymity told Kashmir Reader that an alleged, braid chopper ‘who was provided cover by government forces’ earlier during that day had made several rounds of the area and even purchased a few cigarettes from a local shopkeeper. “We told him why he was making rounds in the colony, he replied that he was a guest and had come to attend a marriage party of his relative in another colony,” he said.
He said that his mother and sister gave exact description of the same person who had made several rounds of the colony when they saw him climbing a wall of their neighbour’s house. “They also said that he was wearing a white T-Shirt and a blue jeans pant and the only difference was that had put on a mask while trying to sneak into the house,” he said.
A middle aged woman who identified herself as Shahnaz said, “The braid chopper had hidden himself inside a coffin and a few of us saw him coming out when police fired teargas shells. He got disappeared in a layer of smoke emitting out of pepper gas and tear gas shells,” she said.
People said that around six braid-choppers were present in the area during Tuesday night. They said that three separate attempts were made by two braid choppers in each house.
Earlier, in the morning residents staged protests against the government forces. They blocked Srinagar-Baramulla bypass for around half an hour. Police and CRPF troopers resorted to teargas shelling to disperse the protesters.
The protesting people had pasted posters on the damaged vehicles reading “J&K police Ka Zulm.” The protesters alleged police and CRPF beat them up following the protests.
Malla, an elderly woman said that son of a local baker was ruthlessly beaten up by them when he was closing the shutter of his shop.
Station House Officer Bemina Abdul Manan told Kashmir Reader that police party came under attack when they had gone to the area to recover an abducted vehicle of four people who belonged to Punjab. “We received a complaint yesterday from four Punjabis including a woman that their vehicle was attacked and cash worth Rs 2 lakh was also stolen near Boatman Colony. We registered a case against the accused under FIR number 239/17,”
Manan said that the moment police reached the spot the stone pelting started. “In that something might have happened. Oherwise I don’t think any such thing happened. We recovered the car from Boatman Colony in dilapidated condition,” Manan said. “The allegations against police are baseless we did not help any braid choppers to escape. We had gone into the area to recover the abducted car,” he added.
Meanwhile, protests against rising braid chopping incidents were held at Habba Kadal and Batamaloo areas of Srinagar city. In Habba Kadal scores of women staged the protest on the main road. They ridiculed the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti by singing derogatory songs. Report of the protest was also reported from Batamloo for the third consecutive day after rumours of braid-chopping of a schoolgirl spread like a wild fire.