Government forces on Friday evening went berserk in Bhan area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district damaging property worth millions while thrashing young and old of the village.
Reports said that the army had launched a cordon and search operation but it couldn’t be verified yet. However, locals over phone told The Kashmir Walla that army raided the village at around 7PM and left the place at 11:30 at night, ” It was a pre planned raid,” locals said.
They said that forces from adjoining camps including Khudwani and Devsar entered the village and started making announcements on mosque loudspeakers. “They were asking to handover the youth of the village to them,” locals said.
Three youth have been arrested but largely the actual damage couldn’t be verified or accessed due to the darkness and will only be available in the morning. The arrested youths have been identified as Fasil Bashir, Fasil Nazir, Muneeb Ahmad Shaikh, all from Bhan village.
Sharing the details of the announcement that were on loudspeakers, locals said it was the 9RR of the army. “Mai 9 RR ka CO bolraha hai, ladko ko humaray hawalay karlo, warna hum yaha se nahi niklenge (I am the Commanding officer of 9 RR, hand over the youth to us, otherwise we won’t leave),” locals quoted the CEO as saying.
They said that after the announcement was made the forces went berserk and started thrashing people and damaging the property. “Almost everyone was beaten up. Women were harassed, they did not differentiate between young and old,” a local, wishing not to be named, told The Kashmir Walla.
He said that half the houses of the village were vandalized while as more than 50 vehicles were damaged in the village. “There are more than 500 households in the village, and I must tell you half of the houses have been damaged. The damage is worth crores,” a local Abdul Ahad said.
“The village is financially sound as most of the villagers are educated and well settled,” he added.
Adding that due to the well to do condition of villagers, most own private vehicles. “Almost everyone owns vehicle here that include JCBS and tractors. Not even they were spared,” he said.
The locals said that even shops were looted and household items like refrigerators were stolen.
The locals also added that they failed to understand why army resorted to such ‘mayhem’. “There was not any provocation from youth of such nature that it would call for such reaction from the army,” a local wondered.
Adding that there was minor stone throwing on an army vehicle following which they went berserk.
However, army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia categorically refuted the claims of locals and said, “No soldier was involved in any kind of ransacking, beating of people, or damaging anything.”
People were still on the roads in Bhan, Kulgam, till this report was filed.
(The story will be updated in the morning with more details)