Villagers in J-K release two cops held hostage
16 December 2007
The Indian Express
Srinagar: Two J&K policemen, who were overpowered by people and kept hostage at a house in Kakroosa village of Kupwara district since Saturday evening were released on Sunday, police said. They were handed over to Kupwara Additional Deputy Commissioner Bashir Ahmad Wani after several rounds of parleys with the villagers, sources said. On Saturday evening, a civilian, Ghulam Mohammad Lone, was killed when police opened fire on a mob. The mob was protesting against police, who they alleged, were behind burning of a few houses in the area. On Sunday morning, as the police launched a massive man-hunt and cordoned off the village to trace their two captive colleagues, the villagers again took to streets. The police resorted to cane-charge and used tear smoke shells while the villagers resorted to heavy stone pelting. In the fierce clashes, more than 30 persons, including 10 policemen were injured. Meanwhile, the two policemen, who were kept captive, were severely beaten by the villagers. However, police refuted the allegation that policemen were behind burning of houses. “No policeman is involved in the alleged burning of private property in Kupwara,” SSP Kumar said. “The police party that was stopped and detained by the villagers was being taken out following the orders of District Magistrate, Kupwara. The District Magistrate has asked police to take out police patrols to protect private property and ward off the incident of arson in Lolab area,” he said while referring to a similar incident at Panzgam. There has been a sudden increase in the incidents of arson in Kupwara district. In fact, some days back, J-K Police arrested a soldier for allegedly setting a private property on fire in Lolab valley of Kupwara district. Meanwhile, violent protests continued for the second day on Sunday at Magam over the killing of a civilian in police firing on Saturday. More than 30 people were injured in clashes with the police, as protesters blocked the highway to the famous tourist resort of Gulmarg. The central Kashmir town and its neighbouring areas observed a complete shutdown on Sunday. All business establishments, schools and government and semi-government offices remained closed.