Civilians Used As Human Shield In Pulwama: Report 

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PULWAMA —The army allegedly used four residents of Pulwama village as human shields to scout for the exact hideout of the militants in the Sirnoo apple orchard where three militants and seven civilians were killed on December 15. 

According to a report in the New Delhi based Economic Times, the Army allegedly dragged 35-year-old Firdous Ahmad Najar, a teacher with J&K government, out of his house along with his brother and two neighbors at around 6 am on Saturday and took them to the orchard, where the government forces had already laid a cordon. 

 “We were ordered to remove stacks of logs scattered in different parts of the orchard and forced to enter into a non-functional poultry farm, which they suspected to be the hideout of militants,” recalled Najar, who also alleged that the army personnel thrashed him as well. 

Later, Najar was pushed to remove another stack of logs near a canal in middle of the orchard. “I removed the logs and saw two tactical boots. The armyman behind me immediately fired bullets, without bothering for our lives. They fired at the hideout from 15 to 20 feet distance and then took the positions around the spot,”ET quoted Najar as saying. “All four of us were kept hostages, as we laid in the orchard on abdomen till the firing was over at around 11 am. Then they left us there,” he said. 

However, his story of being taken as a hostage, Najar says is trivial in context of the killings and mayhem armed forces unfolded in the area, after the encounter was over. Najar’s cousin Sahahzab Najar, 18, who was standing outside his house said he was shot by the army convoy, when they were retreating from the encounter spot. 

“They took revenge for not participating in the ULB and Panchayat elections. Army and SOG is implementing what General Rawat says day in and day out. They want to teach us a lesson and force us not to participate in any funeral or support the militants,” ET quoted a teenager, who was present at the spot, when the protests were going on. 

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