Conflict

‘Armed Forces damaged homes, beat family’, say civilians in Pulwama, Forces deny

FPK Photo/Qayoom Khan.

These are only allegations, and they are baseless, says Defence Spokesperson 

Srinagar: Civilians in Pulwama, including the family members of a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant Zahid Ahmed, on Thursday accused the armed forces of ransacking their house and physically assaulting the housemates.

Earlier militants had fired upon a patrolling party of 44 Rashtriya Rifles at Drubgam Payeen area of Pulwama, in which one army personnel was injured.

Locals said that soon after the gunshots were heard from a close-by distance, armed forces within no time surrounded their residences and subsequently barged inside their homes and damaged the property.

“Besides ransacking, they also assaulted us badly,” said one of the family members.

“We have ended our association with him the day he left and joined militant ranks. His fight is with them, and they should fight him. Why are they attacking us. We are being harassed and assaulted time and again just because of our relationship with him,” Zahid Tiger’s mother said.

“Go and find him and do whatever you wish to, do not drag us into it,” she added.

FPK Photo/Qayoom Khan.

An elderly male member of the family of LeT militant Zahid Ahmed (Tiger) said that he was badly beaten. “They beat me up so badly. They forced me to the ground and beat me. What have we done to them? Every time they come and beat us for no reason at all,” he said.

Defence Spokesperson Rajesh Kalia denied the allegation of damaging any property in Pulwama and beating civilians in Drabgam.

“These are only allegations, and they are completely baseless. We have not ransacked any house, and we have not manhandled anyone,” he told Free Press Kashmir over the phone.

However, eyewitnesses said that besides damaging Zahid Tiger’s house and assaulting his family members, another family of Drabgam village, was also beaten up.

FPK Photo/Qayoom Khan.

Syed Manzoor Ahmad Andrabi and his son Syed Riyafat Andrabi, say they were injured becuase the forces beat them up, and damaged their house.

The injured duo was later evacuated to District Hospital Pulwama for the treatment.

Another female resident told Free Press Kashmir that the forces entered their house and beat up women, old men, and children. “They fired into our homes, I don’t know how the children got saved,” she said.

FPK Photo/Qayoom Khan.

Another resident said that everyone in the village is scared. “They come in civil clothes and take cars. No one wants to buy a new car in the village anymore,” he said.

Speaking to Free Press Kashmir, a Senior Police Officer in Pulwama said that there are no complaints with them regarding this, and they will look into the matter and see what can be done.

 

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