Srinagar: In the heart of Srinagar, barely two kilometres away from the holy shrine of Hazrat Bal, tension between government forces and residents has intensified, with those staying in Tailbal, Guffurbutt region, alleging that personnel belonging to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) ransacked their homes and even looted gold and money in a series of midnight raids early this month.
The residents also alleged that amidst the raids, the forces fired pellet guns, most of which were faced by women, as the men had fled their homes fearing detention.
When Newsclick visited the area, Zulfi Akhtar, a 21-year-old woman, said: "The police and CRPF entered our house in a night raid, which lasted for over four hours beginning at 2 in the morning."
Narrating her ordeal, she said, "They kept a pistol on my neck. There were no young men in the house as they had fled to save themselves from being detained. The women in the house were asked stay in one room. They snipped our curtains, took gold and even the material needed for Pashmina weaving, which cost over a lakh. My mother and sister were beaten up. The children who were asleep, were also beaten up.”
Pointing at a child from her family, Zulfi said: "This child had over seven pieces of glass on his body when we found him. If they did not do justice to him, how do I expect justice for anyone else?
Describing the “ransacking”, Akhtar's neighbour, Aadil, sitting in his verandah, said: "There were many people who had fled the colony once they found out about the raids. There was an atmosphere of terror. My mother was at home, while the rest of us were in a hospital as my sister—law was about to deliver a child. They went to every room and ransacked it, took away all the money that was kept in the locker, broke our TV sets, fridge and even the bed.”
Aadil claimed the "move was pre-planned and the forces came in with the sole purpose to loot and scare us.” He added: “I had kept some money in my books that were taken away and torn. We had some gold worth over a lakh of rupees, which was also taken away. They also broke down the taps in the bathrooms which we later had to restore."
Earlier, too, the area has witnessed stone-pelting and has been the epicenter of clashes between the forces and local residents, who said they had to resort to stone-pelting in order to ensure that the firing from the forces was stopped.
Speaking with NewsClick, a woman who said she had been injured in the firing said: "I was standing outside my house when the uniformed men fired at my leg. Some men picked me up and took me home. I was in extreme pain, as the bullet wound was too deep and painful. I have spent over ₹20,000 to get treated after the injury. We don't have enough money to spend on this, as my only one son is a daily wager."
Following the crackdown by the forces, young girls in the area are now becoming a face of resistance, chanting slogans and taking out marches.
Iqra*, one of the protesters, alleged that "not just the ransacking and detentions, even our Maulvi who used to teach us, was taken away, adding that “girls were abused and threatened, and they even used cuss words to verbally harass us.” She said some older women were hit by pellets, adding that “We will not take this lying down. We will protest against this regime and force them to give us back the Article (370), which is our identity."
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