These are only allegations, and they are baseless, says Defence Spokesperson

Srinagar: Civilians in Pulwama, including the family members of a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant Zahid Ahmed, on Thursday accused the armed forces of ransacking their house and physically assaulting the housemates.

Earlier militants had fired upon a patrolling party of 44 Rashtriya Rifles at Drubgam Payeen area of Pulwama, in which one army personnel was injured.

Locals said that soon after the gunshots were heard from a close-by distance, armed forces within no time surrounded their residences and subsequently barged inside their homes and damaged the property.

“Besides ransacking, they also assaulted us badly,” said one of the family members.

“We have ended our association with him the day he left and joined militant ranks. His fight is with them, and they should fight him. Why are they attacking us. We are being harassed and assaulted time and again just because of our relationship with him,” Zahid Tiger’s mother said.

“Go and find him and do whatever you wish to, do not drag us into it,” she added.

An elderly male member of the family of LeT militant Zahid Ahmed (Tiger) said that he was badly beaten. “They beat me up so badly. They forced me to the ground and beat me. What have we done to them? Every time they come and beat us for no reason at all,” he said.

Defense Spokesperson Rajesh Kalia denied the allegation of damaging any property in Pulwama and beating civilians in Drabgam.

“These are only allegations, and they are completely baseless. We have not ransacked any house, and we have not manhandled anyone,” he told Free Press Kashmir over the phone.

However, eyewitnesses said that besides damaging Zahid Tiger’s house and assaulting his family members, another family of Drabgam village, was also beaten up.

Syed Manzoor Ahmad Andrabi and his son Syed Riyaf