Baramulla traders on indefinite strike to protest raids, arrests

Srinagar: The traders in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district Friday called an indefinite strike and has accused the police of ‘looting’ during nocturnal raids in the Old Town of the district.

While accusing police of ‘loot’ and ‘robbery’, the Baramulla Beopar Mandal has called for indefinite shutdown in the town which began from today with all the shops and business establishments shut. The trade body has demanded release of detained youth and ‘elderly’ persons and transfer of two senior police officers.

All the markets of Baramulla town were closed with traffic off the roads while clashes also took place at Cement Bridge – which connects Old Town with Civil Lines. There was huge deployment of police and paramilitary forces in all the markets of the town while police had erected concertina wires on Cement Bridge restricting the movement of civilians.

While talking to GNS, the president of Baramulla Beopar Mandal, Abdul Rashid Mir, said: “Police have created hostile situation in the town. They have detained around 30-40 youth and elderly persons during nocturnal raids from last few days from various parts of the town including in Azad Gunj, Ganai Hamam, Jamia Mohalla and Stadium Colony.”

“Last night at around 2:00 am, police raided the house of a businessman Ghulam Din Mir of Stadium Colony Azad Gunj. They went berserk, smashed glasses and other belongings. They thrashed him and his son. His son, Abdul Rashid was picked up by police without clothes,” Mir alleged.

While leveling serious allegations on the police, he said: “They stole gold worth 16 lakhs from his house and 3 rupees three lakh in cash. Besides, all this, his house was damaged by police.”

He said Beopar Mandal demands compensation to the businessman, release of the detainees, return the gold and cash ‘stolen by police’ and transfer of Deputy Superintendent of Police (Headquarters)  and Station House Officer Baramulla. “Till these demands are not met, the town will observe a complete shutdown. It is a collective decision,” Mir said.

The Superintendent of Police (SP) Baramulla, Suhail Munawar told GNS that he is unaware about ransacking issue. “I will have to check the facts,” he said. (GNS)