Trouble In Sopore: Police Assures Transfer Of Erring CRPF Men

20 December 2009
Rising Kashmir

Srinagar: At least 10 persons were injured in clashes between locals and police in Maisuma area of central Srinagar while several others were injured in north Kashmir’s Sopore township on Sunday. Meanwhile, Traders Federation Sopore called off strike from Monday but urged the government to immediately remove the CRPF picket. Police said a few youth all of a sudden appeared in Maisuma area and started pelting stones at policemen on duty there and at the police vehicles resulting in ding-dong battle between the youth and the police. The youth were protesting against police for their alleged action of firing tear smoke canisters into the residential houses and business complexes which resulted in arson. The clashes continued intermittently leaving around 10 persons injured. Protests and shutdown also continued for the third consecutive day in the apple town of Sopore over the alleged indiscriminate firing by paramilitary CRPF troopers on Friday and the troopers’ action of ransacking public property and beating civilians including college girls. Life remained crippled as business establishments and shops remained closed and traffic remained off the roads against the action of troops. Raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the residents along with shopkeepers took to roads and indulged in heavy stone pelting. The protesters demanded immediate action against the “highhandedness” of troopers and removal of the CRPF bunker besides compensation for their damaged properties. The protesters also attempted ransacking the bunker in the area. However, police foiled their bid. The police fired numerous tear smoke canisters to disperse the agitated youth while paramilitary forces resorted to aerial firing and broke into the residential colonies. Locals said paramilitary troopers went berserk and broke into the residential houses, beating people and damaging their properties. At least nine persons were injured in the Sunday’s CRPF action in Sopore. “My son had just returned from tuitions when troopers barged into our house and dragged him out. They beat him mercilessly with bamboo canes and left him in a pool of blood,” said Khursheed Ahmad. Another local, Ghulam Ahmed said: “It is the height of atrocities. The troopers don’t even spare womenfolk and beat them ruthlessly. They beat my wife who was standing at the gate of our house when they entered into the residential colony.” The media persons also alleged that troops chased them with canes and beat many of them when they were trying to cover the incident. Meanwhile, President of Trader’s Federation Sopore, Ghulam Nabi Khan called off the strike from Monday and appealed the fraternity to give some time to police for action. The Traders Federation Sunday gave an ultimatum to police and district authorities to remove the CRPF bunker failing which they would start an indefinite agitation in Sopore. “Tomorrow we will lodge an FIR against troopers as SSP Viplav Kumar has given us an assurance of stern action against the men involved. If police and government fail to take action, the Federation will go on an indefinite strike for which the government will be responsible,” Khan said. He also said that the DIG A Q Manhas and Viplav Kumar assured them that the entire company of troops would be transferred from there. “However, they refuse to make any commitment to remove the picket from there as they termed it something beyond their control,” Khan said. Khan sought intervention of the government to remove the picket from the area to ensure the safety of the masses. “It is unfortunate that the government did not look into this issue seriously. We want this picket removed from here.” Khan also warned troops to stop beating passengers who come from various parts of the Valley to this apple-rich town. “They stop vehicles near Degree College Sopore and beat passengers besides abusing women. If they won’t stop this behavior, we will start an agitation,” he said. Meanwhile, SSP Baramulla, Vipav Kumar denied that any clashes had taken place in Sopore town. “I was personally there for the entire day and did not witness even a single untoward incident throughout the day,” Kumar said.