Mob thrashes army men, sets vehicle on fire
The protests over the incidents of braid chopping got intense as people thrashed the army men and also set a vehicle on fire while youth indulged in clashes with the government
forces across Kashmir.
Protestors thrashed three army soldiers and set their vehicle on fire after checking their identity cards at Akhal Kangan area of Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. As per eyewitnesses
three Territorial Army (TA) personnel travelling in a private Santro car (JK01R-6187) were moving in a suspicious manner when a group of people stopped them and sought
Identity cards from them.
On checking the cards it was found that they worked for the Army which agitated the people. The protestors mistook them as braid choppers and started thrashing them.
As per eye witnesses they were beaten to pulp before army party from nearby 24 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) camp arrived on spot and fired some rounds in the air to rescue them. The army action infuriated the agitated protesters who set the Santro car on fire. Police rushed to spot, however, people pelted stones on them, prompting them to lob tear-smoke shells.
As the news spread in Kangan town, shopkeepers downed their shutters while youth took to streets and pelted stones on government forces. A police official, wishing anonymity, said that three TA personnel were on way to a house to attend a marriage ceremony when people checked their identity cards and thrashed them. He confirmed that mob set their vehicle on fire.
The residents of Redi village in Chokibal area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district also alleged that a local TA man was behind the braid chopping incident of a woman in the area. It triggered massive protests in the area which later turned into clashes during which several persons were injured, locals said. According to eye witnesses at around 8 am the braid chopper struck at the house of Ghulam Nabi Pir of Redi village of Chowkibal and chopped off the hair of his daughter before knocking her to “unconsciousness by spraying some substance.” “After hearing shrieks we rushed upstairs only to see the victims hair was chopped,” said victim’s family member in a video.
Another local woman said that it was astonishing the alleged braid chopper jumped from the window of a house and man¬aged to take shelter in a casper (bullet proof) vehicle of army which was parked at a little distance.
“Locals spotted him entering into the army vehicle and changing clothes. He was pulled out from the vehicle and is said to be a territorial army trooper,” said the woman.
She said while the alleged braid chopper was being thrashed by locals, police arrived on the spot to control the situation. “In the melee, army managed to whisk away the TA trooper,” said the woman in a video which has been circulated on social media. Another video of the incident, which has gone viral on the social media, shows that locals thrashed the TA man while army tried to rescue him. The alleged braid chopper was taken to Chowkibal camp by army, locals said. After the incident massive protests erupted in the area against the government for failing to control the braid chopping of a woman in Kashmir. The angry protestors also resorted to stone pelting on forces who retaliated by firing tear smoke shells to disperse the crowd. Locals said nearly 6 persons were injured during clashes which lasted for hours. Station House Officer (SHO) Kralpora, Inspector Waseem however, didn’t confirm any injuries. According to Waseem, the locals didn’t let police to detain the TA trooper, who was alleged to be a braid cutter. “We tried to bundle the person, alleged of braid cutting, into a police vehicle thrice but locals resisted. We tried to persuade locals that police will investigate the trooper’s role but they didn’t listen,” he said.
SHO confirmed that the person, alleged of being behind the incident, was taken forcibly by army in Casper vehicle amid stone pelting by locals.
Asked whether police would contact concerned army and question the TA trooper, he said the people must come forward and register a proper complaint with police. “We will contact army for questioning of TA trooper but witnesses should also come to the police and register complaint. We will go ahead with the questioning of trooper but we need things in concrete, not hearsay statement,” he said.
In Srinagar city clashes also erupted in Rambagh area of Srinagar after a mysterious braid cutting incident. As the news about the incident spread, scores of protesters blocked the main road at Rambagh amid anti-government slogans. The protests triggered vehicular disruption on the busy road. However, police arrived on the scene and fired tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters. In Maisuma area of Srinagar city and its adjoining areas a shutdown was observed against braid cutting. The movement of the people was restricted there using concertina wires.
Shops and other business establishments remained shut in Maisuma, Gawkadal, Basant Bagh, Kokar Bazar, Budshah Chowk while Auqaf market too remained shut. Large number of people took to roads at Botshah Mohalla Lal Bazar area of Srinagar city where the braid of a woman was chopped off on Monday evening. The protesters amid anti-police and anti-government slogans demanded the arrest of braid choppers. As per reports in Bandipora district shopkeepers under the banner of Traders Federation and Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) took to roads and staged a massive protest against unabated braid chopping incidents. The protesters who raised anti-government slogans marched from Nowpora to Gulshan chowk. The protesters alleged that government has miserably failed to expose the miscreants involved in braid chopping incidents. They said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has lost the right to run the state affairs as she has failed to expose braid choppers.