AT LEAST 20 people were injured as police and paramilitary forces fired pellet guns and tear gas shells to contain protests in south Kashmir’s Kulgam after crops, buildings, and vehicles were set on fire and people assaulted in four villages of the district by unidentified miscreants on Sunday morning, said J&K Police.
While villagers in Hawoora, Mishpura, Redwani and Khudwani alleged that houses, cowsheds, shops, several houses and shops were ransacked by security forces, a police spokesman said “miscreants” were behind the incidents.
“Today morning, after the withdrawal of deployment from Khudwani, Redwani and nearby areas, miscreants assembled and set on fire two heaps of paddy straw at Redwani,” police said.
“There are conflicting versions. There is a police version and the peoples’ version. We will have to look into it,” said Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar, who is also the J&K government spokesperson.
On Saturday, security forces had to retreat from Hawoora after residents resorted to stone-throwing to foil a “siege and search” operation in the area by security forces following inputs about the presence of militants in the village. Villagers of Hawoora alleged that forces entered Jamia Masjid of the village on Sunday morning and “took nine youths who were offering prayers”. The villagers say that while leaving the village, they set on fire house of Mushtaq Ahmad Gujree, a labourer, and the cowshed of a widow Saleema Begum.