Indo-Pak Affairs

Occupied valley’s city reels under curfew for 23 consecutive days

PATTAN: This village of Pattan, which witnessed eight civilian killings at the hands of government forces in recent days, is reeling under harsh curfew for past 23 days with 30,000 souls caged in their homes. The residents accuse the forces of unleashing a reign of terror in the village and blasting transformers to snap electricity to the locals.

The police stopped the media teams from visiting the village. “You can not go as curfew has been imposed,” a policeman said while stopping the media men vehicles on entrance of Palhallan and escorted us to Deputy Superintendent of Police, Pattan, Sajjad Ahmed Shah.

An Army Major sitting besides him asked reporters to reveal our identity as his men were enforcing curfew. On further persistence, he asked this reporter to talk to SSP Varmul for getting permission. When this reporter rang up the SSP, he said he would talk to his subordinates about ground situation and asked us to call back after five minutes.

When called second time, the SSP said, “You can not go as it would create law and order problems.” The reporter however managed to speak to a few people living on the roadside. The residents told media men that police, paramilitary CRPF troopers and troopers of Army’s 29 Rashtriya Rifles had imposed strict curfew since Sept 12 and were not allowing them to venture out.

“We are confined within our houses for past one month. Entire population has been made hostage and our lives have become worse than of prisoners,” they said. As this reporter was talking to people, two women with children in their lap come out, but policemen rebuked them, forcing them to return.

Some students had a tough time while pleading with policemen to allow them to reach examination centres. The sole Allopathic dispensary in the village is shut with CRPF men on guard. The problems of residents are increasing with every passing day as they are running short of essentials. “We are facing shortage of ration and other eatables. We are on verge of starvation as nothing is left in our houses,” said 35-year old Fayaz Ahmed.

The locals also complain that they are being stopped from harvesting of crops.“Early yesterday morning police fired teargas canisters on people working in orchards and chased them away. A fortnight ago troopers also raided paddy fields and beat up labourers working there,” said an elderly person wishing anonymity for fear of reprisal from forces.-SANA

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Noreen Gill

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