After three unsuccessful night raids, police and CRPF men rained bullets on civilians in Aripathan
- No protest or stone pelting was going on in the area when cops fired on people: Witness
- Police and CRPF men also barged into houses to molest women: Locals
After thrashing and injuring about 80 residents during three night-raids, police and CRPF men showered bullets on people in Aripathan village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Tuesday morning, killing four youth and injuring many others.
According to locals and eyewitnesses, at about 7:50 am, few police and CRPF vehicles entered the village and fired indiscriminately on a group of youth, who had just gathered in a small group on roadside.
“Neither the youth, who were fired upon, were protesting nor any stone pelting was going on in the area. The police and CRPF firing was totally unprovoked and unjustified,” they said.
35-year-old Hajra, who has received bullet in her left shoulder in police firing and is recuperating in SKIMS Bemina hospital said people in the village were awake for the whole night as police and CRPF had raided the village thrice in the night to detain youth for observing August 15 as ‘black day’ to lodge their protest against continued civilian killings by forces in Kashmir.
She said when locals resisted the cops from detaining the youth during night raids, force personnel thrashed and injured 80 persons including women.
“All the villagers had gathered at a single place as nobody slept at home due to fear of detention. On Tuesday morning, police and CRPF again raided the village and opened indiscriminate fire on local youth,” she said.
Hajra said 16-year-old Javed Ahmed was first causality of forces’ indiscriminate firing. “He was hit by a bullet in head and died on spot”.
“After the forces firing, youth ran helter-skelter to escape the bullets. Few youth mustered courage to pick up Javed’s body. The force personnel fired indiscriminately on them,” she said.
In the forces firing, two youth Javed Ahmad Najar, 17, and Mohammad Ashraf , 32, died on spot while 29-year-old Manzoor Ahmad, who sustained critical bullet injuries, was declared brought dead by doctors in SKIMS Bemina.
“There was a total calm in the village as no protest or stone pelting was going on. Most of the people had gone to their homes to sleep after morning prayers. Those, who were fired upon by force personnel, had either come out to get bread and milk or newspapers from the market,” said the locals.
They said not only police and CRPF men fired on the people but force personnel also barged into the houses to molest women.
“Before shooting Hajra, the force personnel attempted to molest her. However, many villagers at their risk of life saved her from the clutches of ruthless forces,” they said.
According to doctors, about 11 people including a woman with bullet injuries were admitted in SKIMS hospital Bemina. Two more youth identified as Farooq Ahmad and Tauqeer Ahmed have sustained bullet injuries in heads and are undergoing treatment in SKIMS hospital Soura.
“After carrying out the bloodbath, forces went on rampage in the village and injured two dozen people by thrashing them mercilessly,” a local resident Nazir Ahmad.
He said the force personnel did not even spare elderly persons and injured many of them including 55-year-old Ghulam Rasool.
Doctors attending Rasool at SKIMS, Bemina told Kashmir Post that he has been badly hit in the head.
“It seems someone has stabbed him in the head,” said a doctor, wishing not to be named.
According to locals, a government official, who was on way to Beerwah in an ambulance yesterday, was interrupted by locals at Aripathan and not allowed to move ahead.
“The official had sought police help to pass through the area to reach Beerwah. The policemen resorted to teargas shelling and fired pellets at protesting youth,” they said.
Deputy Commissioner Budgam and SSP Budgam did not answer repeated calls from Kashmir Post.