Civil society in Kashmir is enraged that the police arrested three persons who were seen heckling CRPF jawans on 9 April, especially since no action has been initiated, apparently, against the Armymen who were seen using a Kashmiri man as human shield, by tying him to their car. These incidents of violence by the stone-pelters and the soldiers came to light in successive videos that went viral on social media this week after the Jammu and Kashmir government lifted the ban on internet services, imposed since 8 April.
Following an FIR lodged by the CRPF, the Jammu and Kashmir police arrested the three youths, seen in a video beating the CRPF personnel, while they were returning with EVM machines after finishing their election duty. The CRPF men were seen exercising maximum restraint in the face of such violence.
A senior police officer told this newspaper that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has asked the police to act against all violators of law. Reports said that Mehbooba Mufti has sought a detailed report from police on all the incidents of violence.
Director General of Police, J&K, S.P. Vaid has told the media that the government will proceed against all violators after verifying the contents of the videos.
In one such video, shared on Twitter by National Conference spokesman Junaid Matoo, the security forces are seen allegedly shooting a stone-pelter in the head during a stone pelting incident. The video suggests he was shot without any warning. The police has been asked to probe the video.
The police has also been asked to probe a firing incident in a house, allegedly done by the CRPF while chasing protesters. A young girl was shot in her thigh on polling day on 9 April.
Meanwhile, Farooq Ahmad Dar, the man who was tied in front of the Army vehicle in Budgam, has told the media that he would not file any formal complaints against the Army, apparently because he “fears for his life” and his “ailing mother has advised (him) not to plunge into controversy and stand up against the Army”. Senior police officers said that in the absence of a formal complaint by Dar, they would not be able to refer the case to the Army for investigation.
Dar, who belongs to the Chill Brass village near Arizal, told the media that he was thrashed by the Army on 9 April and was tied in front of the vehicle after an Army officer threatened him that he would be shot if he raised an alarm. The sarpanch (village head) of that area, Bashir Ahmad Magray, told this reporter over telephone that Dar was handed over to him by the Army. Magray confirmed the physical abuse of Dar, who was “driven on the bonnet of the Army jeep for hours, through more than a dozen villages”. Meanwhile, a national newspaper has quoted sources in the Army to say that Dar was a stone-pelter and that the action was necessitated to ensure the safe passage of a five-vehicle convoy without resorting to any firing and hurting the civilian population.
The Army has said that it is investigating the incident.