Thrashing of Youth Sparks Protests in Rawalpora

Srinagar: Anti-army protests broke out Tuesday in Rawalpora area of the city outskirts after the soldiers allegedly thrashed two youth to ‘pulp without any reason or rhyme’.

Shahid Ahad Bhat and Aqib Ashraf Dar were allegedly beaten up by soldiers near Rawalpora Chowk on Tuesday morning when an army convoy was passing through the area, witnesses told Kashmir Observer. The soldiers, they said abused the two youth while beating them with sticks and guns.

Due to the severe beating, eyewitnesses said, the youth suffered serious injuries and were let off by the soldiers only when their wounds bled.

According to the eyewitnesses, Bhat had sustained cervical injury while Dar suffered injuries in his leg and foot due to the alleged thrashing by soldiers. Both of them were removed to the hospital by locals.

The incident set off massive anti-army demonstrations in the locality. Scores of people, including women took to streets and staged a demonstration against the army ‘atrocities’. Chanting pro-Islam and anti-army slogans, the protesters blocked Rawalpora –Rangreth road demanding an end to the harassment by the soldiers when the convoys pass through the area.

“The soldiers have terrorized the locals. Every time a convoy passes through our area, the locals are taken hostage. The soldiers not only swing lathis to spread fear in the area but also hurl choicest of abuses at the passerby,” Bashir Ahmad, a resident said.

He alleged that the soldiers also prevent emergency services, like ambulances to ply on the road when the convoys pass through the area.

A woman protester alleged that the army convoys move in the middle of the road leaving any space for the civilian vehicles to ply on the road.

“The soldiers atop the convoy vehicles keep on swinging their batons. At times, they hit the vehicles for fun. This is sheer harassment and abuse of power,” she said.

Srinagar based defence spokesperson; Col Rajesh Kalia told Kashmir Observer that he was trying to ascertaining the facts of the incident.

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