Nawa Kadal Residents Allege Arson, Loot

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Kani Mazar locality after the encounter- KO Photo

SSP Says, Cops Taking Rs 50,000 Salary Can’t Resort To Loot

SRINAGAR: The residents of Kani Mazar in Nawa Kadal area of Downtown Srinagar on Tuesday accused government forces of arson and loot during the pre-dawn gunfight that left two militants, including a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen dead, a charge strongly contested by police.

Residents alleged that contingents of police and CRPF appeared in Kani Mazar  locality on Monday night and started banging the doors asking people to leave their homes. After this, the locals said the government forces barged into some houses and decamped with valuables when the area was resounding with gunfire.

The gunfight that started around 3:00 AM has left behind a trail of destruction. According to the locals, over a dozen houses have been destroyed.

“They looted our houses and then put them on fire,” alleged wife of Bilal Ahmed Rah, a resident of Kani Mazar.

Like others, she said her family too had to spent night in a house in the neighbourhood locality after the encounter broke-out.

“And when we returned, we saw our houses turned into rubble,” she added.

On Tuesday, thick curls of smoke were still emanating from the debris, a large number of people visited the spot to see the destruction. Women were seen wailing, and beating their chests.

There were accusations of valuables, cash and jewellery being stolen from the houses.

Videos surfaced on social media showing distraught residents alleging loot during the operation.

“They wreaked havoc here. Besides damaging our homes, they stole goods too and even they have decamped with LPG cylinders,” one woman could been seen in the video sobbing and alleging.

Superintendent of Police (SSP), Srinagar, Dr. Haseeb Mughal denied the allegations levelled against the government forces by the residents. He said the cops rescued over 300 women before the encounter started.

“These allegations are baseless and motivated to malign the image of forces. How can someone takeaway their belongings when there are only bullets and raging fire,” SSP said.

“How can a policeman steal the utensils when he gets a salary of Rs 50,000?” he asked.

4 Injured After House Falls At Gunfight Site

Meanwhile at least four people were injured when a house collapsed near a gunfight site in Nawa Kadal area on Tuesday evening.

According to the reports, after ending their Ramzan fast, many people thronged the encounter site in Kani Mazar locality of Nawa Kadal where two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in a gunfight earlier.

They said as the people were watching the devastation, a partially damaged house collapsed, leaving four persons wounded.

Injured were shifted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar for treatment, officials said.

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Auqib Javeed

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