Handcarts of street vendors ablaze in Soura by security forces

Police and paramilitary forces Wednesday set the handcarts of five vendors of Soura ablaze along with their merchandise and cash boxes, locals and eyewitnesses said.
They said youth were engaging Police and paramilitary forces in stone-throwing ding-dong battle in front of the maternity hospital and when the government forces tried to catch hold of the stone-throwing youth, they ran away.
Locals and eyewitnesses said failing to catch the stone-throwing youth, the government forces took vented their anger on the roadside vendors selling fruit and other merchandise.
“This is probably for the first time in my life that I have seen brutality of the government forces in such a crude form,” said Ghulam Ahmad Mir of Buchpora, who was passing by the area. “They set the handcarts of five vendors ablaze along with merchandise and cashboxes.”
Niyaz Ahmad Dar of Nowshera, who had gone to visit his ailing relative admitted at SKIMS, Soura, said the government forces lost their cool as the youth continued to throw stones at them.
“It was nothing but the government forces taking out their frustration on the poor roadside vendors while failing to deal with the stone-throwing youth,” he said.
SHOSoura, Shahnawaz Ahmad was not available for his comment as his father had passed away.
SDPO Soura, Ramiz Rashid told Kashmir Post that concerned SP was authorized to comment on the issue.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Hazratbal, Amod Ashok termed the allegations against the government forces as wrong.
“This is wrong. The miscreants had petrol bombs to harm the police forces. Usually, at the time of forces’ withdrawal, miscreants lob petrol bombs. We didn’t find it appropriate to go upto the maternity hospital and stayed at a distance. Usually, they are angry against the cart vendors since they remain open during shutdown. As the miscreants didn’t hit any target, they damaged the carts of the vendors in frustration,” he said.
Nagpure said, “We have eyewitnesses, who are convinced, against them. We have registered a case and the persons involved will be booked under relevant sections of the law.”
Police also issued a statement regarding the burning of handcarts of the roadside vendors at Soura.
The Police statement said in Anchar-Soura, miscreants set ablaze few carts of vendors and also damaged some tree guards and road dividers.
“In spite of today’s hartal call given by separatists, some fruit vendors were conducting their normal business near the Maternity Hospital Soura and traffic was partially plying,” the Police statement said. “However, infuriated by this, some miscreants assembled near SabziMandiSoura and started throwing stones at vehicles plying on the roads.”
Police said keeping in view the rush of patients near the hospital, Police and paramilitary forces deployed there exercised maximum restraint and avoided the confrontation with the stone throwers.
“This infuriated and frustrated the mob of miscreants and they tried hard to engage security forces and escalate the situation,” the Police statement said. “Finally, during evening hours at the time of withdrawal of security forces, the miscreants to seek the attention of security forces and engage them set ablaze a few fruit carts which they dragged on road and damaged some tree guards and road dividers.”
Police said, however, the miscreants were dispersed with minimum force and in this regard a case under FIR No 80 under relevant provisions of law had been registered at Police Station Soura and investigations taken up.

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