Stranded passengers say they were assaulted in Samba, share photos, Police deny

I will look into the matter, Lovkaran Taneja, Deputy SP, Samba told Free Press Kashmir

Srinagar: Reports regarding assault on passengers travelling from various parts of India to Kashmir have surfaced. According to travellers who were stranded, while travelling to Kashmir after seeking permission, many of them were allegedly beaten up by the police at an Ashram in Samba district of Jammu.

The passengers say they were informed that they would have to stay in the Hermitage for some more time, but were assaulted after they approached the administration for reasons for delay.

The police, however, denies all the allegations.

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, and a lockdown was imposed, many people residing away from their homes are desperate to reach their homes.

Among them are many Kashmiri students, men and women with different reasons to travel despite the risks.

According to the the travellers, after getting proper permission from the government had reached Samba on May 10. As per some of the people stuck there, the lot had been kept in an Ashram where they had waited all day long for anyone from the authorities to show up and clear their doubts about their further travel.

ALSO READ: ‘We were stranded due to COVID, we sought permission to travel, now please let us go home’

“Many passengers who have been put in this Ashram since yesterday have been mercilessly beaten by police because they objected to staying further after waiting for the whole day,” on of them shared with Free Press Kashmir.

According to the travellers, when the admin finally came in the evening, people surrounded him, and asked questions. He called the police and many were “beaten like dogs including old people and woman.”

“Cars were damaged and glasses were broken by police. They were even threatened that they will shoot them.”

The police however deny any such thing.

Speaking to FreePress Kashmir the police said, “it takes the administration at maximum, three days to get the travellers tested for COVID-19 before allowing them to travel further,” adding “the travellers say they have no issues with staying for more days if the authorities instead of keeping them hanging inform them about the decisions on time.”

When asked about the Baton-charge on the stranded commuters, a police official from the Police Control Room, Samba denied that such an incident had taken place.

Speaking to Free Press Kashmir, Lovkaran Taneja, Deputy SP, Samba says, “nothing like that has happened.”

On sharing information about the pictures of proof, he said, “sometimes a chaotic situation arises. That is what must have happened. Their stay or travel is decided by the administration and it is done at a proper time. They will have to have some patience and wait for some time.”

“I don’t know about the Lathi-charge. But it will be looked into from our side,” he assured.

It is pertinent to note that recently a batch of eighty was similarly stuck in Samba for more than a day. They complained that the police did not update them about their stay. They had been hungry and complained about the unhygienic and congested accommodation they had been provided with.


Marouf Gazi is a Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) 2019 fellow and a senior staffer at Free Press Kashmir. 


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