Soldiers thrash Policemen at Sonamarg

Srinagar: In a strange incident of inter-force clash over the petty issue of traffic jam, army men Friday allegedly thrashed policemen at the tourist resort Sonamarg, stormed the local police station and resorted to firing, a local newsgathering agency CNS reported Friday. According to the report the two army men have been arrested and the army has assured action against the erring soldiers, if found guilty.

The soldiers affiliated to the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) Nilgrath, were on board in their five vehicles bearing registration numbers, 091028P, 019510K, 018971M, 151614A and 019457K when traffic jammed near Sonamarag. 

“The policemen were trying regulate the traffic when the army personnel from HAWAS asked policemen to clear the road for them but  the policemen  did not oblige citing visible rush. This enraged some of the army men and started abusing them,” the report said quoting eyewitnesses. Meanwhile a policeman namely Javid Ahmed (549 gbl) entered into an argument with the army men and it took an ugly turn when all of a sudden scores of HAWAS personnel came down from their vehicles and chased away policemen,” an eyewitness Ghulam Nabi said.

The agency reports said that Army personnel barged into police station Sonamarag and resorted to indiscriminate firing. “They fired scores of bullets and some of the bullets hit the walls of police station Sonamarag,” In Charge Station House Officer Sonamarag Irfan Ahmed Malik said . Policemen from Sonamarag police station have alleged that the army personnel thrashed all the policemen mercilessly. “The assailants also used knives and assaulted  Assistant Sub Inspector Abdul Ahad (71 gbl) ,constable Tabasum (1212 gbl) back side of the neck. They also attacked constable Javid Ahmed (549 gbl), SPO Muhammad Ashraf and Constable Altaf Ahmed Kirmani (1271 gbl),” the CNS quoted the Inspector as said.  He has also alleged that the attackers entered into ammunition room and after ransacking fled with one AK-47 rifle. 

He said that among the five injured cops, ASI Abdul Ahad and Constable Tabasum Ahmed were shifted to Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura for treatment. Reports said that the army personnel went berserk after coming out from police station and started beating everyone who came their way. “I tried to stop them but they beat me to pulp. I was helpless and couldn’t do anything,” Sarpanch Sonamarag Nazir Ahmed said adding that the army men thrashed passengers, shopkeepers and pedestrians.

Eyewitnesses said that these army personnel smashed the windowpanes of various vehicles including a Kashmir University bus (JK01N-5431).

Soon after the incident, all the shops and business establishments got shut and hundreds of people took to streets and assembled in front of police station Sonamarag. According to the agency report, “Amid pro-police and anti-army slogans, the protestors demanded the immediate arrest of these assailants. The protests spread to Gadibal area, one kilometer away from Sonamarag after some HAWAS personnel allegedly misbehaved with some females working in their fields. People staged a massive protests and demanded action against those army men.”

Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone, Abdul Gani Mir has assured strict action against the army personnel, if found guilty. “We have sent a team there to assess the situation. The law will take its own course,” he said.

Reports said that the locals grew angry over the incident and took to streets but the police did not allow any street protests. The Police have reportedly arrested two army personnel so far in this connection, one of them has been identified as Harmeet Singh.

An FIR vide number 31/2014 under section 307,392,353,147,148,452 has also reportedly been registered against the army men involved in the act.

Srinagar based Defense spokesperson N.N.Joshi said, “a close liaison is being maintained with the police and the matter is being investigated jointly. Those found guilty will be dealt severely,” he said. 


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