Excessive use of force by cops in Nowgam against people protesting police vehicle crushing teenager spawns widespread demonstrations

  • The fresh round of protests in this Srinagar neighbourhood comes after the situation had begun to normalise in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 that stripped the region of its semi-autonomous status.

  • The security forces allegedly even resorted to unprovoked firing on those who were trying to shift those injured in the mishap to hospital.

  • Abdul Ahad Bhat, 60, showed the smashed window panes and the broken washing machine in the bathroom of their house which lied adjacent to that of the deceased teenager.

She wailed inconsolably in her house in the neighbourhood of Nowgam in Srinagar that lies a few lanes away from where her teenage son was buried. On Tuesday, Parveena received the blood-soaked body of her son at home, hours after he had gone out for tuitions at a private school.

Not just that her son met with a tragic death but the events that followed were heart-wrenching.

She tried to carry home the body of 16-year-old Tahseen Nazir from the accident site where he was crushed to death by a police vehicle but was allegedly thrashed by “force personnel” who “hit” her with gun butts and batons as they were trying to disperse the mob that assembled at the mishap spot.

 Excessive use of force by cops in Nowgam against people protesting police vehicle crushing teenager spawns widespread demonstrations

A window suffers damage allegedly during police action at Nowgam in Srinagar. Photo courtesy Ishfaq Naseem

At her house crowded with mourners, women relatives of the family said that they were beaten up by security forces and the local residents alleged that their window panes were broken by tear gas shells that were lobbed into the houses by police. The security forces allegedly even resorted to unprovoked firing on those who were trying to shift those injured in the mishap to hospital.

An eyewitness, Mohammad Akbar, 35, said that as he was walking on the road he saw a police bus ram into a vehicle and later hit an electric pole and a transformer before leaving Tahseen dead and some people injured. The incident, he said, took place at around 9 am on Tuesday and within hours “several policemen from a roundabout came to the spot and fired to disperse the people from the accident site.” A man has received bullet wounds in the leg, locals said.

According to local residents, while Tahseen died immediately after he was hit by a bus carrying policemen, nearly a dozen people were injured in the last two days by baton charge and pellet firing during protests.

Late on Wednesday night hundreds of youth continued with the protests and resorted to stone pelting on the police who were seen chasing them away. The fresh round of protests in this Srinagar neighbourhood comes after the situation had begun to normalise in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 that stripped the region of its semi-autonomous status.

Shops and business establishment remain open in Kashmir, but the internet and pre-paid mobile services are suspended in the Valley for the last over five months. The Nowgam area however witnessed shutdown against the death of teenager and “excesses” by the forces.

The residents said that police even detained several youths during the raids which continued even in the night.

Parveena said that as soon as she learnt that her son was injured in the road accident, she rushed to the site.

“Instead of helping me take the body of my son home, who died on the spot, police lathi-charged us. They beat me up with gun butts,” she said, adding that she was hit by the batons and gun butts in her right arm. The deceased teenager’s grandmother also said that she was beaten up by the forces. Their neighbour, Razia, said that she received bruises on her leg during the police lathi-charge.

Parveena’s husband, Nazir Ahmad, said that he was also badly beaten up and was “ slapped and punched”  as he was trying to take home his son’s body. “The police took away his body and we could carry it home only hours later from the police control room. Is this justice?’’ he asked.

Rubeena Bashir, a local resident said hours after the death of the teenager, police personnel swooped on Khajawpora area of Nowgam and even smashed their window panes.

“They hurled abuses and also smashed our window panes. They also lobbed tear gas shells into our houses,” she said.

Bashir Ahmad, another resident, said that his son Faizan was detained by the police and was released only after he pleaded with them that he was innocent.

Family of another youth, who didn’t wish to be quoted fearing reprisal, said that he was detained by the local police on Wednesday afternoon as he had gone to purchase medicines from a pharmacy near his home.

His sister said that the policemen showed her the photographs of her brother standing at the accident site and are “trying to implicate him in a false stone-pelting case.” “My brother is innocent, he was picked up from the roundabout when he had gone to purchase medicines for his mother. He didn’t take part in stone-pelting and was watching what had happened,” she said.

Abdul Ahad Bhat, 60, showed the smashed window panes and the broken washing machine in the bathroom of their house which lied adjacent to that of the deceased teenager.

When contacted, Superintendent of Police West, Mushim Ahmad, said that police didn’t use “any excessive force on the people”.

“To my notice, only one woman was injured in the accident. She received a head injury and is recovering.” He, however, said that “We have detained few youths for indulging in stone-pelting on the forces.”

 

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Updated Date: Jan 09, 2020 16:01:34 IST