‘Masked men’ create panic in Muslim populated areas of Chenab valley: Locals

Doda: Panic has gripped across Muslim populated areas of Chenab Valley because of suspicious masked men who knock at the doors of people with weapons during Sehri time and night prayers.

Sources said that there is chaos in Thatri tehsil and that masked men appear in Kishtwar, Badharwah and Doda districts as well. A resident of Thatri tehsil said that the masked men appear in various hamlets of Chenab valley including Zanri, Jangalwar, Faksu, Khanpora, Trinkli, Kahra, Kencha, Bhatyas, Bonjah, Saroor and Drabshalla.

Reports said that these unknown masked men knock at the doors and create fearful sounds. “Few masked men a few days back entered into a house when people were busy in offering night prayers and they tried to kidnap a child from the house, however, the hue and cry raised by the women folk forced these men to retreat from the village,” another resident said.

“Their motive is to terrorize the people. We are surprised why these masked men appear in Muslim areas only. May be they don’t enter Hindu hamlet because of the presence of VDC’s there. There are no VDC’s in Muslim hamlets and even the officials don’t allow Muslims to make use of licensed guns,” Mohammad Talib said.

People in Chenab Valley believe that it is an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the case of fake encounter specialist Shiv Kumar. “He is involved in so many innocent killings and we firmly believe that an atmosphere is being created to make police believe that militants are still present in Muslim areas so that Shiv kumar could be assigned the job to face them,” Irshad Ahmed said adding that police is not taking any action against these masked men.

People said that despite repeated pleas police did not made any effort to nab these masked men who often resort to aerial firing when chased by the people.

When contacted, Superintendent of Police Doda, Arief Reshu told CNS that no masked men are roaming in the region and these are all rumours. “It has not been verified on ground. I appeal people not to pay attention towards rumours. We have already talked to heads of villages in this regard and till date the presence of these masked men have proved only hoax,” he said.