Scores injured as forces go berserk in twin Shopian villages

Government forces went berserk in two villages of south Kashmir’s Shopian district late Monday night, beating local residents and ransacking houses, shops and vehicles.
Around 40 people were injured as forces rampaged through Turkwangam village, around 12 kilometres from the district headquarters.
According to locals, personnel of Army’s 55 RR and SOG Shopian appeared in the village at around 11 pm. “They didn’t announce any cordon in the area and without any provocation barged into the residential houses and beat up the inmates severely. They didn’t even spare the women folk,” said a local, wishing anonymity.
Twenty-five people sustained minor injuries and were taken to Pulwama hospital for treatment and while others were referred to Srinagar after reportedly suffering multiple injuries.
The locals accused forces of vandalising the household belongings of villagers.
“Some youth had allegedly hurled stones at army vehicles when they passed through the village during daytime. The forces didn’t respond at that time but returned in the night to take revenge,” locals said.
“It was like a fidayeen attack by forces. They entered the homes with the intent to hurt. Many have suffered severe fractures and are still admitted in hospitals. They broke windowpanes and doors of almost every house in our locality. We fear for our lives,” they added.
Speaking to Kashmir Post, SSP Shopian, A S Dinkar said: “A patrol party of army and SOG was moving through this area which came under an attack with stones by the locals. It led to this whole incident due to retaliation of forces.”
In another incident in Vehil village of Shopian district, several shops were ransacked and vehicles damaged after forces went berserk after some local boys burst crackers to celebrate Pakistan cricket team’s victory against Sri Lanka in a nail biting contest to qualify for Champions Trophy semi-finals in England on Monday night.
“As soon as Pakistani cricket team won the match, scores of people came out on streets and burst crackers. The celebrations annoyed the forces who rushed to our village firing bullets in air and later ransacking whatever they could lay their hands upon,” a local resident told Kashmir Post.
The forces broke into several shops and ransacked the merchandise while breaking windowpanes of houses and causing damage to parked vehicles too.
“The army men who had come from the 44 RR camp in the neighbouring Chodubugh village were accompanied by SOG men. They arrived in our locality soon after we burst firecrackers. They not only broke the windowpanes of many houses but also turned several parked vehicles upside down causing heavy damages. The forces also broke locks of several shops and threw out the merchandise,” another local resident said.
SSP Shopian was not available for his comment while SHO Shopian said he was unaware about the incident as he had resumed his duties in the evening only.
Meanwhile, talking to a local news agency CNS, Srinagar based Defence spokesperson, Rajesh Kalia refuted the allegations. “Our troopers are not involved in whatsoever has happened in Vehil and Turkawangam villages,” he said.

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