SRINAGAR: The CRPF troopers beat up and wounded several women and more than 12 teenagers in the small hamlet of Qazigund in occupied Kashmir, during the strict curfew last week after the villagers refused to sing “Jai Mata Di (Long live Mata (Indian goddess)” “Vanday Mataram (I bow before thee o motherland),” and the Indian national anthem. Not to be quoted by their names was the first request of the villagers, as they feared further reprisals. The villagers said they are “being terrorized” for participating in pro-independence marches.
The villagers said on August 26 the troopers of 154 Bn CRPF caught hold of a group of youth outside a Darasgah and asked them to sing Indian national anthem. “One of the youth, Muhammad Ishaq Wani, refused to sing it saying he didn’t know anything about it and even if the Indian prime minister forced him to sing it he would not. This was not liked by the troopers and they tore off his clothes, leaving him naked,” the villagers said. Ishaq is a 12th pass student and working as a salesman.
After parading Ishaq naked, the troopers barged into dozens of houses and beat up the inmates to pulp, the villagers said. “They threw stones on window panes of the houses and damaged several vehicles,” the villagers said. The troopers had brought stones in a gunnysack, the villagers said.
Women who tried to intervene were also beaten severely. According to villagers, 40-year-old Hafeeza wife of Abdul Majeed Wani was brutally beaten by the troopers with bamboo sticks and gun buts inside a cow shed where she bled for nearly half an hour before her neighbours took her to hospital. She has six stitches in her head, and the bandage was blood stained.
Hafeeza’s daughter Mehbooba too was not spared when she attempted to rescue her mother. “The troopers threatened Hafeeza of dire consequences if she told the villagers or the media how she was injured,” the villagers said. Mahtaba Bano, 70, wife of Abdul Majeed Wani has multiple bruises and haematoma. “She was asking them to stop atrocities, but she was thrashed severely,” the villagers added.
A pregnant woman Nayeema Akhtar wife of Fayaz Ahmad Wani was hit with bamboo sticks on her back. The residents said a woman named Chashmeeda was walking on the road carrying her three-month-old baby when the troopers snatched the baby from her and beat her up severely. Chashmeeda has multiple injuries on arm.
“The troopers entered the house of a mentally challenged person and beat up his son Zakir Hussain Kuttay so savagely that he has 14 stitches in his head and arm,” the villagers said adding the troopers smashed the Dish TV antenna of one Muhammad Yousuf Rather while the vehicle of his fellow villager Abdul Hameed Wani was partially damaged. “More than 200 glass panes were smashed with stones,” the villagers said.
They said the troopers tried to set ablaze the house of a villager Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh by spraying it with kerosene but his neighbor Muhammad Yousuf Rather snatched the kerosene can from the troopers. “Following this, the troopers broke Rather’s legs by ruthlessly beating him with gun butts,” the villagers said. Rather has fracture in his right leg.
A 10-year-old boy, Abrar Ahmad, was severely beaten. “The troopers asked him about his favourite cricket player. He named Shoaib Akhtar. Hearing this, the troopers started beating him,” the villagers said. They said Ahmad was rescued by his father who told the troopers that Abarar’s favourite player was Sachin Tendulkar and not Shoaib Akhtar.
The villagers said after the “collective punishment” the troopers left the area at 4 pm, but returned again to sing “Jana Gana Mana” and “Vanday Mataram” in the village. “More than 200 troopers in a frenzy celebrated in the village Allah knows what. They raised anti-Islam and anti-Azadi slogans,” the villagers said.
They said the Station House Officer of Dooru Police Station refused to file an FIR against the troopers. “Please don’t name any of the victims in your story. The CRPF troopers will simply kill us. There is nobody here to listen to us, not even the police and district administration,” the villagers said. The CRPF officials, however, deny having any information about the incident. “I don’t know anything about it. But I will certainly talk to the concerned commandant and ask him to inquire the matter,” said the CRPF’s Srinagar-based spokesman, Prabhakar Tripathi. “If the allegations are proved right, we will be taking action against the erring troopers. We won’t tolerate indiscipline at any cost.”-SANA