A Jammu Kashmir Police officer Saturday talked about in detail how Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force is out on roads to ‘maim, hurt and kill civilians’ in Kashmir.
“They molest female commuters, cause damage to private vehicles and thrash people without any reason or provocation. The irony is that these unbridled CRPF men beat up policemen and even threaten them to shoot at them when they stop them from harassing people,” Muhammad Ashraf Pual, in-charge police post Sangam in South Kashmir’s Islamabad district told Srinagar-based news agency CNS.
Kashmir Valley has been witnessing unabated protests after the death of Hizb commander Burhan Wani on July 8 this month. Major parts of Kashmir are reeling under curfew as death toll has crossed 40.
Internet and phone service has been snapped and cable offices have been shut.
The police officer, who was all praise for his men for exercising maximum restrain while dealing with law and order problem, said that one of the police drivers (Afroz Ahmed Dar (SPO/4545) of Tikabagh Anantnag from his area lost his life while an expensive armed vehicle plunged into the Jehlum, yet they didn’t open fire on the protesters.
“There was no civilian causality in our area. The trashing and molestation incidents that occurred in the area were the handiwork of CRPF men who didn’t follow our orders and even thrashed us at times when we tried to save civilians from their wrath,” he said.
Narrating the incident when CRPF men from 90 Battalion harassed a pregnant woman, Pual, the senior officer in Sangam, said that these men beat up some of the cops when they saved the woman and gave her a safe passage. “They threatened to kill us when we saved a girl from Kulgam. They harassed that girl who was accompanying her ailing mother along with her brother. These men crossed all the limits while dealing with the trio. Our heads hung in shame. They tried to maim us but we didn’t retreat and freed the hapless girl.”
“Without any reason these men stop private vehicles near Sangam, harass females, thrash male passengers and damage the vehicles. They are not following any law and their actions are not going to bring peace in Valley contrary it will alienate more people. These unbridled CRPF men clashed with us several times and it was local police who saved these women and civilians from them,” Pual said, adding the height of lawlessness is that CRPF doesn’t work under the command of local police which is the Standard Operating Procedure.
Paul, whose house was attacked by protesters at Chandrigam in Tral for his alleged involvement in seizing the bikes of youth who were on way to attend Burhan Wani’s funeral on July 9, told news agency that it were CRPF men who harassed people and threw dozens of bikes into the Jehlum near Sangam.
“The situation would have turned ugly but we intervened and diffused the situation. The large number of protesters were ready to react to the unwarranted actions of CRPF men. There are many bikes belonging to civilians lying at our police post. We seized these bikes from CRPF when they were busy throwing them in the Jehlum,” he said.
“More than two lakh people visited Tral to attend Hizb Commander Burhan’s funeral and thousand of them including females took Sangam route. Sensing trouble and to maintain peace in the area, we advised ‘emotionally charged’ people to take alternative route as we feared that CRPF deployed at Sangam will create law and order problem. They (CRPF) detested our strategy and to vent their anger they abused and slapped couple of local policemen. We failed to understand whether these CRPF men are here to maintain peace or foment trouble,” Paul said.
Pertinently, Paul was not present during the attack on his house while his wife and daughter fainted and were shifted to hospital. The protesters had alleged that Paul harassed people near Sangam, a charge vehemently denied by him. “It was local police that and it is local police that is on roads to protect innocent people,” he said.