Kashmir: Locals Refuse To Attend Indian Army’s Iftaar Party, 4 Girls Injured In Army Firing
Four girls sustained bullet-injuries after an ‘Iftaar Party’ organised in Kashmir’s Shopian district on Monday evening took an ugly turn. The villagers turned down the gesture, triggering a heated exchange between the locals and the soldiers.
The Iftaar Party initiative comes under the backdrop of the recent ceasefire announcement by the Centre in the month of Ramadan.
The villagers objected to a refreshment stall that the Army had set up outside a local Masjid. A stone-pelting protest followed the argument. The soldiers had to open fire, injuring four 15-17-year-old girls present at the site.
Out of the four bullet-hit girls, two were referred to Srinagar for advanced treatment as the bullet had hit them above the waist, while two others were admitted to the local hospital.
“Just before the time of Iftaar, they (Army) arrived with a food truck. While they were arranging stalls, the villagers, especially the elders had advised the Army not to do anything. But they did not listen,” Shahid Masood, a villager, told The Logical Indian.
Shopian and South Kashmir, in general, is known as a hotbed of militancy and often makes news for its shutdowns, protests, and killings. And especially since the killing of localite Hizbul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016, the relations between the forces and the locals are at an all-time low.
Since 2016, over 200 civilians have died as a result of army firings, and injuries to thousands of people have been reported. Records suggest that more than 1500 people have sustained eye-injuries as a result of pellet gun fire. There have been multiple attacks on the army, paramilitary, and police camps in the last two years.
As per Masood, no one in the village likes any kind of interaction with the army.
“We understand the Army is doing their work. They do what they are told to, but, is there any point in forcing someone to eat the food you have brought?” he said.
“The villagers don’t like the Army, and these out outreach programs won’t work here, at least in south Kashmir.”