Soldiers Assault Tourists in Kashmir

Srinagar, June 6: Indian army soldiers allegedly assaulted a group of tourists at Pahlgham tourist resort in Indian administered Kashmir on Monday. Police have registered a case against the army.

“In the afternoon, army men in their vehicle appeared near Taxi Stand, Pahalgam and caught hold of Sunil Suhalke, a tourist from Rajasthan and started beating him without any provocation,” eyewitnesses said.

They also said as the family members of the victim and other tourists in the area tried to intervene and rescue him from the ‘clutches’ of army men, the troopers allegedly assaulted the tourists including the women visitors.

“The locals intervened and saved the tourists. They caught a trooper,” said a shopkeeper, who is an eyewitness to the incident.

A senior police official while confirming the incident said FIR has been registered against the army men. “We have seized the xylo vehicle and arrested its driver,” he said.

He said police has approached the Army authorities. “The accused soldier will be handed over to police soon”.

Several persons including women were injured in the assault on the group of tourists from Rajasthan by the soldier, who was carrying a rifle at the time of the incident but was not on duty at the spot.

Another police official said the accused soldier could not be arrested as senior army officer has assured full cooperation to them. “He assured us that they will produce the accused soldier whenever he is required for investigation,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that Indian army men recently entered into the hotels and harassed the tourists in the mountainous Leh region. The incident evoked strong condemnation from Chief Minster, Omar Abdullah, who termed the army raids as illegal.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.