Aloosa (Bandipora): The residents of Aloosa, Astengoo, Malangam, and Kuloosa villages of Bandipora area in Varmul district have accused 15 Rashtriya Rifles of Army of shielding a government gunmen and two informers who "threaten and harass the villagers, interfere in their domestic affairs and extort money."
Army denies that the trio is working for them. However, police says the three men are working for different security agencies, not the 15 RR alone.
The accused men are Meraj-ud-Din, Hamid Dar and Bashir Bhat the dreaded government gunman, all residents of Bandipora.
The villagers said that recently when they protested against the searches conducted by the 15 RR in the house of grand imam of the area, the accused trio warned them of dire consequences.
"They told us 'if you will protest, be ready to face the wrath; you know our power and all of you would be booked in fake cases'. They have made our lives hell; they interfere in family matters and out of fear we have to accept their decisions. They run a parallel government here," said an aged villager requesting that his name should not be mentioned for fear of reprisal at the hands of troops and the accused trio.
A man in the Kuloosa village said, "They have extorted thousands of rupees from villagers. Some months back they told me 'RR soldiers were searching for you; shell out Rs 30,000 we would save you'. I gave them 19000. My life is saved."
The residents of these villages particularly the Aloosa village said the gunmen knock at doors of homes during nights. They said soldiers in civvies accompany them.
The residents allege that police never comes to their rescue despite knowing "about the misdeeds of these men."
"They know all the facts; we can't file complaints against these men because they would come to know who filed the complaint and he won't be spared then," a shopkeeper told Greater Kashmir in Aloosa.
Despite repeated attempts no senior police official could be contacted on phone. However a middle-rung police officer in Bandipora told Greater Kashmir, "We will look into the matter. We have not received any complaint against them yet. They are working for different security agencies, not for 15 RR only."
The Commanding Officer of 15 RR told Greater Kashmir on phone that "the trio is not working for us. If they are committing wrongs in our name, people should inform us. Why don't people hand them over to police?"