Srinagar: Soon after Sarfaraz Ahmad hit the ball out of boundary in Cardiff cricket stadium in England to crash in to semi-finals of ongoing Champions Trophy, the Indian armed forces raided a hamlet in Shopian in south of Srinagar on late Monday night.
Sarfaraz is captain of Pakistan cricket team which won over Sinhalese yesterday in a dramatic turn of events. As the target was successfully completed in 43 hours, Kashmiris erupt in to celebrations bursting fire crackers.
It is not the first time neither the last one that Kashmiris cheer for men in green during highly charged cricket matches.
“It was around 10:30 pm that people, especially youth, came out of their homes and burst fire crackers,” a local of Vehil village in Shopian told the FreePressKashmir over phone.
Shopian is around 45 kilometres away from summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir located in southern area.
“As the sound of firecrackers reached nearby areas, we heard heavy vehicles come in our direction,” he said.
“As the vehicles entered our village, armed forces came out of them who resorted to aerial firing,” he added. The youth did not wish to give his name.
“It scared the whole locality,” the youth said.
An elderly man in his late fifties said that the armed forces resorted to “hooliganism”. “They even fired on shops,” he said, “there are visible holes on shop shutters created due to the bullets.”
“As people went inside their homes for safety, the armed forces ransacked shops; they pelted stones on houses breaking the windowpanes,” he added.
The armed forces belonged to an army camp located in nearby Chodurgund area.
“Many of the items which were housed in our shops are missing,” a shopkeeper said.
The elderly man said that given the sanctity of holy Ramzan “good sense prevailed”. “Nobody confronted the armed forces because it was so late in the night as Muslims need to be ready by 3 in the morning for Sehri (pre-dawn meals during Ramzan),” he said.
However, he said, people came out on streets Tuesday morning holding protests against the “highhandedness of forces”.
Meanwhile, in another village, Indian army men raided the local populace injuring dozens.
A government employee from the village said that the army men thrashed and vandalized private property worth lakhs of rupees.
“Around two dozen men were injured as the army men beat civilians ruthlessly soon after the faithful finished the late night special Ramzan prayers (Tarawiah),” he said.
Giving details, he added, “there was some stone pelting in the area early in the day.”
“The youth resorted to stone pelting when Commanding Officer (CO) of 50 RR passed from the area and his convoy came under stone pelting attack,” he informed.
The CO was travelling in Scorpio.
“Just in vengeance,” he said, “the army men raided our village late in the night and resorted to lawlessness.”
Another local from the area said, “whole population is yet in their beds as nobody was spared”. One of the injured has been shifted to Bones and Joints Hospital Barzulla for advanced treatment.
Srinagar based defence spokesperson, Col Rajesh Kalia, said that he was gathering details when this story was published.