Srinagar, Apr 29 : People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday alleged that the people of Poonch and Rajouri districts were being harassed and tortured by the security forces after the recent attack in Poonch that left five soldiers dead. She also demanded an in-depth probe into the attack.
Addressing a press conference at party headquarters here, Mehbooba, according to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) asked, “How did the attack happen in a highly-secured area that is under the heavy presence of troops? There should be an investigation into the incident so that the truth comes forward.” “But that (truth) should not come at the cost of harassing the people of Rajouri and Poonch,” she added.
The PDP chief said that since the attack last week, authorities have been “oppressing” the common people in the twin districts. “The situation is that the people of these areas are being harassed, caught, questioned, and tortured,” she alleged.
Questioning the death of Mukhtar Shah, a resident of the Bataduria area of Poonch, she questioned: “How did he commit suicide when he was taken into custody for questioning?”
“A purported video of Shah came out in which he says he was fed up because his family, friends, and villagers were harassed. There should be an investigation,” Mufti said, adding that there are two others who have also been grievously injured because of sustained questioning and torture.
Citing the example of Abdul Rashid Dar of Kunan Poshpora, Mehbooba highlighted that post-2019, many such instances have happened where it is being said that “suspects” during the process of taking them towards hideouts died due to militant fire or escaped while being taken to a hideout.
In the aftermath of the Poonch incident, hundreds of people have been questioned and among which dozens of people are either in NIA, army or police custody, she said. “People of Rajouri and Poonch are the most peace-loving and have never supported guns,” she said.
The PDP leader also alleged, “The locals are being oppressed ever since the start of G-20 events. Hundreds of local youth have been picked ahead of the G-20 meeting which is being held in Srinagar next month.”
“Ever since the process of the G-20 meeting has started, an arrest spree has started and people are being questioned. The situation in J&K is worse than in Guantanamo Bay. Let them do the G-20 event, but why are the youth being arrested?” she asked—(KNO)