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Hajin Residents Say Army Vandalised Villages, Army Refutes

Army says allegations baseless, fired aerial shots to disperse mob

Srinagar—While locals in Hajin area in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district continue their protest against Army for “vandalising houses, ransacking property, setting stacks of dried grass on fire”, Army Thursday said these are all baseless allegations against the forces.

Army said they were forced to fire some aerial shots to make out safe passage for the patrolling party to reach its destination.

A complete shutdown was observed in the district against the alleged army highhandedness on Wednesday.

All shops, schools, business establishment were shut and traffic was off the roads. Pertinently, on Wednesday army and other forces allegedly vandalized the property at Hajin area after they came under heavy stone pelting in the area.

Reports said that Army soldiers from 13 Rashtriya Rifles were on a patrol when a couple of youth pelted stones on them.

According to eyewitnesses, this infuriated soldiers who went on a rampage in the town.

“Army soldiers ransacked houses and shops, thrashed people irrespective of their age and gender and set fire to stacks of dried grass in Parrey Mohalla, Bon Mohalla and Khos Mohalla localities of Hajin,” said a local.

The locals hit to roads and clashed with government forces who arrived in the town in large numbers. According to locals forces used tear-smoke shells and pellets while even a youth was hit by a bullet in his leg and was referred to Bones and Joints hospital Srinagar.

"Four youth were hit by pellets. Another youth was hit by bullet in his ankle. The injured youth were shifted to CHC Hajin," the locals said.

Srinagar based Army spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia while refuting the allegation, said: “Army didn’t indulge in vandalising or ransacking of property. There are all baseless allegations against Army”.

Giving details about the incident, Kalia said actually an Area Domination Patrol of 3 Sector RR was passing through Hajin when it came under heavy stone-pelting by a mob.

Kalia said the Patrol Party Commander cautioned the crowd not to indulge in stone-pelting, however, the mob continued to target the patrol, injuring three soldiers.

“After giving a final warning, a few rounds were fired in air to disperse the mob and the Patrol Party moved to its destination”, he said.

DC Bandipora was not available for his comments as his phone was continuously switched off. (KNS)

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