January 2003 News

Troops thrash shopkeepers

31 January 2003
News Network International

SRINAGAR: Troops of Rashtriya Rifles 9 Battalion thrashed scores of shopkeepers in Chowgam village of Kulgam area. The market was only opened up previous day after a mine blast on January 21,in which six soldiers were injured. According to the people of Chowgam, a contigent of RR 9 Bn appeared in the marketplace and started thrashing shopkeepers without any rhyme or reason. At least a dozen shopkeepers were injured in the incident. Shopkeepers said that the troops were irritated why they had opened up shops without their permission. The shopkeepers insisted that they had resumed their business only previous day after the January 21 mine blast after repeated assurances from SP Kulgam HR Parihar, who visited the place on January 29. Immediately after the incident Thursday, residents of the area took to streets and marched to Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. The protesting villagers blocked the highway and were shouting slogans against the Army. As the mob was protesting, a convoy of Army passed by. According to eyewitnesses, the troops fired in the air and chased away the villagers. About half a dozen protestors were injured. Two of the injured, identified as Zainab and Ghulam Rasool Parray were reported to have sustained critical injuries. While Zainab is reported as being treated at Qazigund Hospital, Parray has been rushed to a Srinagar hospital.


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