Gujjar groups clash in Kishtwar reaches Srinagar

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

SRINAGAR

A Gujjar bakerwal group from Kachwan, Kokernag Wednesday, alleged that some ‘politically backed’ members of another group attacked them with 12.12 bore guns injuring many of them.

The Khatana family protesting in Srinagar: Photo by Bilal Bahadur
The Khatana family protesting in Srinagar: Photo by Bilal Bahadur

The lethal injuries have left a 12 class student Shakeela Khatana without her arm and her cousin, Anwar Khatana without his right eye. The group that is presently in Srinagar treating their injured protested against the accused and the police alleging that police is not taking any action against the accused.

Akbar Ali Chowhan, a teacher by profession said that the group lives in the forests of Kokernag’s Kachwan area. Living a nomadic life, in summers they take their stock (goats, sheep etc) for grazing to Hajgah-Nallah in Warwan meadows in Kishtwar district. This year they too followed the trend.

On July 18 while they were busy with cattle grazing in the meadows, another group (Bashir Ahmad Khatana group) also had sent their stock for grazing.

“The other group asked us not to mingle our cattle with their stock, which was unavoidable,” he said.
The Akbar group alleged that their group was attacked them. “The group led by Bashir Ahmad Khatana asked us to vacate the area as their sheep and goats were grazing the meadows,” Akbar said adding the grazing by cattle is not done separately and it is natural that different stocks of sheep get intermingled.

This had turned into a brawl. “When our cattle did not move, they started fighting with us,” Akbar said. “Afterwards they directly opened fire on us with their 12.12 bore rifles,” Akbar said.

The firing resulted into the fatal injuries to two of their members, Shakeela and Anwar. “Shakeela was fired on her left arm that was then amputated by doctors in SKIMS and Anwar lost his left eye,” Shakeela’s brother, Mushtaq Khan said.
Mushtaq said that they took injured and without any transport facility available to them left for Srinagar and reached SKIMS Soura on 19 of July.

“We left on foot for Srinagar on the same day. It took us whole night to reach SKIMS,” Mushtaq said, adding, “Shakeela was profusely bleeding and our group had to give 11 points of blood for her treatment.”
The doctors operated upon Shakeela on the same day and they had to amputate her arm.

Anwar Ali who was fired on his left eye was admitted to SMHS Srinagar where from his group took him to a private hospital for better treatment where he was operated upon.

Some members of the Akbar group went to police station Warwan Kishtwar and filed an FIR against Bashir Ahmad Khatana and his group on 18 July 2013 under number 2/2013 u/s 307, 341, 323, 147, 148, and 149 RPC. “We filed an FIR with the police station concerned on the same day.”

But the group accused the police of turning blind eye to their tragedy and supporting the Bashir group who they claim has political affiliations with ruling party member National Conference.

“The SHO has been paid Rs 50000 by Bashir Khatana and he is now accusing us of attacking them,” Akbar Chowhan said, adding, “The SHO is forcing us to compromise with the accused Bashir and his group and if we don’t do so, he has warned us of dire consequences.”

The Akbar group claims that Bashir and his group is roaming free and they have not been arrested so far as of now one month has passed.

The Akbar group alleges that Bashir Khatana is involved in many other cases and two FIRs stand registered filed against it in the police station there. “Bashir is a mafia in him and is involved in many cases but is roaming free,” Akbar while waving the two FIR copies said.

“Bashir Khatana is backed by his cousins who are running a land mafia in Jammu and are NC activists. They have paid police huge money and now are forcing us to change the statements,” Akbar said.

The Bashir group is presently residing in Lower Munda, Jammu.
“We demand Chief Minister’s intervention in this case and the accused must be punished under the law,” the group demanded.

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