Our aim was to avoid civilian casualty : IG CRPF

The security forces in Kashmir may have a reason to claim the ‘peaceful’ conduct of elections in the strategic Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency on April 18, but there is other side also.

On the poll day, as per the official data, 41 incidents of stone pelting were witnessed across the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency leaving 30 security forces personnel injured, 18 vehicles damaged and 15 other youth wounded four of them by the pellets.

Luckily, all the injured except four persons are stable. Those critical include a civilian driver, Muhammad Yasin Dar, 25, resident of Dalgate area of Srinagar. Dar was ferrying security forces personnel.

Police said that Dar sustained grave stone injuries in his head at Hyderpora during clashes  is undergoing treatment at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura.

On Saturday, on the directions of Governor Satya Pal Malik, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Swayam Prakash Pani visited Dar and enquired about his health. “He had sustained grave injuries in his head and is improving now thankfully. Earlier, he was very critical,” an official said.

Policeman ShahidulHaq son of Muhammad Ibrahim Sofi of Shangus, Anantnag was hit by two stones right on his mouth in Srinagar’s downtown area at the time when forces were being withdrawn.

A police official said that Shahid’s front denture was damaged badly. “At present he is in the SMHS hospital but he has lost majority of his front teeth,” the official said.

“Another policeman from IRP 13 battalion was hit by a sharp edged stone on his nose and he has received 12 stitches. He is stable now.”

An Indo-Tibetian Border Police (ITBP) man RamuBudha had sustained multiple injuries during clashes at the Downtown. “Initially, he slipped into coma and is gradually returning back,” a senior ITPB official told Greater Kashmir.

“Budha had multiple stone injuries on his head, forehead, shoulder and arms.” Mukesh Arya of 98 battalion CRPF sustained grave injury on his face at Budgam. “He sustained a big cut on his face and got five stitches.  He was profusely bleeding but now he is improving,” a CRPF officer said.

Two police officers of Deputy Superintendent rank also sustained injuries but are stable. “At least 15 cops sustained injuries in the clashes.”

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Inspector General CRPF Srinagar-sector Ravideep Singh Sahi said that though the day remained “peaceful” across Srinagar LokSabha constituency, massive clashes broke out during the time of withdrawal of the forces in Srinagar, Budgam and parts of Ganderbal areas.

“We had directed our men to maintain utmost restraint as our ultimate aim was to ensure no civilian causality in which we succeeded,” the IG CRPF told this newspaper.

“From CRPF alone, 15 men got injured three of them were critical in the initial stage but are doing fine now. The condition of ITBP man was very serious, but he too will make it now.”

He said the nature of injuries the security forces personnel received in clashes “has obviously left a lesson” for the top brass to learn. “We will have to ensure that our men don’t get hurt badly and we will take some steps in that direction for sure,” the IG said.