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Palhalan siege: Day 35

The curfew and restrictions have remained in force in Palhalan from past 35 days.

“We have been at the receiving end for over a month now. Our children were killed, houses damaged, shops ransacked and electricity snapped. We are being punished for raising our voice for justice,” Chairman Masjid-e- Abu Aala, Ghulam Mohammad Tantray said.

Tantray’s son Ansar-ullah, 24, a final year M A English student of Kashmir University was among the eight persons killed in police and CRPF firing in Palhalan, Pattan last month.

Adil Ramzan Sheikh, Mudasir Ahmad, Feroz Ahmad Malik, Noor-ud-din Tantray, Muhammad Ramzan Mir, Muhammad Ashraf Mir and Ali Muhammad Waza were seven other victims of the cops firing. Adil was only 12.

“200 youth have been injured in troopers action. At least 20 of them have been disabled and few are battling for life in Srinagar hospitals. We have seen dance of death and destruction in the recent days,” Tantray said.

He said the alleged atrocities started last year after an ambulance of Army’s 319 field regiment (08K008566X) was set on fire on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway during protests against the killing of four youth in the district.

“The locals had no role in torching the army vehicle,” he said adding the nocturnal raids, harassment of youth has became order of the day after the incident. “As people saw no end to atrocities, they raised their voice and staged protests. Our protests were met with brute force,” he said.

Tantray said the six villages of Palhalan including Tantraypora, Hajam Mohalla, Raipora, Kitpora, Yatipora, Ghat and Chak Jamal Mir were completed sealed off after the killings rocked the Valley.

“We have been held hostages. We can’t go to markets to buy essentials. In case of emergency, we have to rush patients to Sumbal hospital, even as Sub-district hospital is at a walking distance. It seems government wants us to die of starvation,” he said.

A local chowkidar, Ghulam Mohammad Mir urged the administration to lift the curfew from the area so that people can resume their normal activities.

“Normal life is a distant dream for the residents. Over 50 shops situated at the highway are shut from the last 34 days,” he said adding, “Curfew has hit the residents very hard. As a chowkidar, I apprised the district officials about the problems faced by the residents due to the continued curfew. However, they didn’t listen to me,” Mir said.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Baramulla, Muzaffar Ahmad said curfew is in force in the village to maintain law and order situation. “The administration will lift the curfew from the area on Sunday,” he said.

He said excesses have not been committed by one party. “Both sides share the responsibility,” Muzaffar added.   (PBI) Rising Kashmir News Srinagar, Oct 16: