Srinagar: Her face was pale when she handed out tahar, turmeric rice distributed for charity and thanksgiving, from a bucket on a crossing on the chilly morning today. The young woman was glad that “the army didn’t kill my brother last night”. A few meters ahead, on the dusty road, blood stains lead the woman to 20-year-old Bilal Hussain.
On the prior night, at about 1:30 am, Hussain was scrolling on his smartphone, tucked in his bed, when someone repeatedly banged the door to his residence in Abanshah area in Srinagar’s outskirts. When he opened the door, he stood numb as about forty troopers of the Indian Army stared at him.
Moments later “I and my father walked out on the street”, he said. Neither of them were given a chance to wear shoes. “At least twenty other people”, Hussain said, were ordered out of their homes, they “stood in a line” on the dark street as the temperature dipped to 1°C. As the men and boys shivered, one trooper walked up to Hussain and said: “Yeh raat tu kabhi nahi bhulega. Yeh to shuruwat hai.” (You’ll never forget this night. This is just the beginning.)
Hussain said the troops kept repeating the same questions: “Where are the militants?”, “Tell us where did they eat food?”, “Did you watch the video?”. The troopers were referring to a video recorded and released by militants who attacked a patrol group, killing two troopers, on the afternoon of 26 November in this area.
When contacted by The Kashmir Walla, Indian Army’s Srinagar based spokesperson Rajesh Kalia had this to say about the alleged raids following the 26 November attack: “These allegations are unfounded. No army personnel is involved in thrashing or beating of civilians.”
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, Haseeb Mughal, told The Kashmir Walla that “no such complaints are there with the police station”. He added: “We don’t have any such information. If there is any substance in your reporting.