Trouble in Baramulla comes on top on an unresolved Shopian crisis. While the trigger happy policing ensures that the people as well as the government get no respite, a growing assertion among people is cornering the administration. HAROON MIRANI reports.
Twenty one years after the start of militancy, a year after the Amarnath agitation, six months after the youngest chief minister assumed office, Kashmir looks as precarious as it has ever been.
With volatility its trait and tension its status quo, Kashmir is simmering with rage, at least for three different reasons at three places.
While Shopain is fighting for justice over the twin rape and murder case, Larkipora in neighbouring Islamabad seeks the whereabouts of a youth summoned by the army and later declined information about.
In north, Baramulla tested the administration again; it failed again. The government that talked about lessons learnt from Shopian was caught off guard. In two days, four youth lay dead in police and CRPF firing.
Baramulla on boil
It all began with a case of an alleged kidnapping or an elopement of local teenage girl by his lover on June 17. The simple crime case mishandled by administration and exploited by some local leaders led to the death of four young men.
On the morning of June 29, 19-year-old Salim Wani had left his home to collect monthly fares for the cable operator who he worked for. Three hours later, his body wrapped in a white shroud arrived in the Sayed Karim locality. Wani fell to police and CRPF bullets in town main square. He was not alone, Amir Rashid, 17, Fayaz, 24, Tariq Malik 23 too became the victims of Police and CRPF firing in two days.
On June 17 Ghulam Ahmad Ganai of Binner village had lodged a complaint with Baramulla Police that his 15-year-old-daughter, Rehana, was kidnapped by 25-year-old Mehraj-ud-din Marazi of Sheeri village. On June 28, Police arrested Marazi’s brother-in-law Mohammad Yousuf Bhat as an accomplice. Bhat’s wife Hasina Akther – the sister of the alleged kidnapper – visited the station that day to plead for her husband’s release, and later contacted a local TV channel, accusing the police of demanding a bribe to release her husband.
In the evening Akther appeared in Baramulla’s main chowk, accusing the police of demanding ten thousand and sexual favours in lieu of her husband’s release. She identified police constable Mohammad Amin as the main culprit. A head constable Amin, locals say, doesn’t enjoy good reputation in the town.
Soon, an announcement about police misbehaviour with a woman was made from a local mosque. A protest ensued. With Shopian rape and murder case fresh in the minds of people, anger simmered.
Clashes with the police continued till midnight, even as the district administration tried to roll back the damage by clarifying that Hasina Akthar was the sister of the alleged kidnapper and airing an interview in which the father of the kidnapped girl stated the same.
The same night police recovered the kidnapped girl from boatman colony Bemina, Srinagar, along with Mehraj-ud-din Marazi. Police claims that the girl was found after Hasina’s husband identified her. The girl has already been handed over to her parents. The whereabouts of Hasina Akthar are not known. Last time she was seen accompanying some protestors.
Next morning, when shopkeepers started to open their shutters, a group of young men came out and started pelting stones. Protests resumed and soon clashes with police and CRPF personnel began.
Eyewitnesses accuse the police and CRPF of using excessive force in return. Police and CRPF opened fire killing Saleem Wani on the spot and seriously injuring another 17-year-old boy Amir Rashid.