Srinagar: Army has denied media reports that its personnel were involved in thrashing up locals in a Bandipore village on Monday that caused serious injuries to five residents.
Giving its version of the events an army spokesman Tuesday said: A joint search operation was launched by Army and the SOG based on information about presence of terrorists in village Jaban, Chuntimulla. The search started at 0700h and not at 0330h as mentioned in the reports. A number of houses where terrorists were suspected to be hiding were searched in presence of village Sarpanch. Three suspects, who were believed to have provided logistic assistance to the terrorists, were identified. At no stage were they beaten or tortured by the army as reported in the media.
The spokesman further said that while three suspects were being taken to Police Station Sumlar for questioning, people blocked the road and tried to break the barrier of the Army Camp at Chuntimulla, which is enroute to Sumlar. The Army and police personnel alongwith the Numberdar of the village tried to pacify the people, reassuring them that the suspects would be released after questioning. However, the crowd did not listen, started pelting stones and tried to force their way into the Army Camp. One of the police officers was kicked in the groin by one of the relatives of the three suspects. To control the unruly and violent crowd the police had to resort to mild lathi charge. One of the ladies who was part of the protesting crowd was injured due to the stones being pelted by the people from the rear. Two more people were injured in the melee. At no stage was she or any other person including the three suspects were beaten up by the Army, he added.
The spokesman said that the allegations levied against the Army are purely aimed to malign the positive image of Indian Army prevalent amongst the locals and with the malafide intent to disrupt the ongoing counter terrorist operations in the area.
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