Army 'thrashes" Muslims, Pandits in Tahab village of south Kashmir's Pulwama

Army ''thrashes'' Muslims, Pandits in Tahab village of south Kashmir's Pulwama

According to locals, on Monday night a few gunshots were heard in Tahab area of Pulwama district following which army soldiers from 55 Rashtriya Rifles barged into the residential areas and launched searches.

Dozens of people, including Muslims and Pandits, were allegedly beaten by army here on Monday night. The incident sparked protest as members of both the communities hit the streets on Tuesday and demanded the removal of army camp from the area.

According to locals, on Monday night a few gunshots were heard in Tahab area of Pulwama district following which army soldiers from 55 Rashtriya Rifles barged into the residential areas and launched searches.

“During searches they thrashed in-mates and vandalized properties worth lakhs.  We were busy having dinner with our kids when army men without any provocation barged inside our houses and started abusing women and beat everyone around 10:30 pm. Even our Pandit neighbors were also beaten,” locals alleged.

Adding that army did not spare anyone and thrashed old aged men, women, and children. Three Pandit families including a Pandit guest were also beaten.

At least a dozen people sustained injuries and were rushed to a hospital for treatment while some were treated locally. The incident triggered fear among the residents and they could not sleep throughout the night. “Our children were terrified," said a woman. 

“What was the fault of our kids? Why every time we become the soft target of forces. How can a six year old child who suffered bruises be hold responsible? What was our fault and why locals are paying the price of these incidents,” she asked.

Earlier on Monday night a senior police official had said that a CRPF sentry fired few rounds in the air after noticing suspicious movement around 8:15 pm in Tahab.

Following the night long thrashing and ransacking episode in the area. Dozens of locals on Tuesday morning assembled on Tahab-Pulwama road and staged protests.

The protesters including men, women children and particularly Pandits staged massive protests and blocked the road throughout the day.

The protesters were demanding the removal of Army and CRPF camps from the area. The shops and other business establishments also remained closed while both public and private transport remained off the roads.

According to protesters, the army personnel without any provocation targeted dozens of houses, smashing the windowpanes and parked cars. People were also beaten by the forces apart from inflicting losses of lakhs in the village

“They ruthlessly beat us and have unleashed a reign of terror in the area. We can no more bear the brunt of this camp. We are already terrified by this incident. We request government to remove these camps from our area else we will continue our protests at deputy commissioner’s office in Pulwama,” said a protester from Pandit community.

When contacted, Pulwama superintendent of police Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam told Greater Kashmir that the investigation is going on that why people were thrashed. “A police party was rushed to the area and have taken the cognizance into the matter to investigate the issue,” Aslam said.

Deputy Commissioner Pulwama Ghulam Muhammad Dar said that he personally visited the area and pacified the protesters. “I have asked the police to lodge a FIR. I have also sent the directions to remove the army unit from the area within two weeks of time.” Dar said.