Kashmir Portal

A digital Kashmir Info Network

Bomai enjoys freedom, but wants punishment to killer troops

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 16, 2009

Bomai, June 15: This north Kashmir village is enjoying the absence of the local army camp whose removal was possible after a sustained month-long agitation by the residents this February-March. The stir was triggered by the cold-blooded murder of two youths by the troops, a fact corroborated by a magisterial probe. But the freedom is somewhat incomplete as the villagers are still pained by the fact that the accused soldiers are yet to be punished, courtesy the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
 The village overlooked by Zaloora mountains is presenting a festive look these days as the plantation of paddy saplings is at its peak. Women now feel free and enjoy work in the fields near the army’s now-gone Rajindra Post.
 “We never dared to work in these fields since the troops established the camp near the government girls high school two decades back. They used to tease the women,” said Shahnaza, a local resident while working in the fields amid pro-freedom Kashmiri songs by her colleagues.
 The village youth also enjoy moving late in the evening and the markets work till late hours.
 Barbed wires around the school are no more and the sign board “Rajindra Post – stop for security check” has been replaced with “Government girls high school Bomai- from darkness to light.”
 But the speed-breakers on way to the school remind of the notorious Rajindra Post- named after Major Rajindra who once headed the camp troops. Locals accuse Major Rajendra of picking up a groom Tahir Mushtaq from Tujar Sharief on his marriage day on Sep 3, 2003, and killing him in a land-mine blast.
 The students of the girls school, which was partially occupied by Rajindra Post troops, now enjoy playing cricket in the school premises. The troops had established a bunker atop the school building and freedom to play was inconceivable for them three months back.
 “During the occupation of the school, it was like a prison here. Our every activity was being recorded by a camera in the bunker. They used to take our video-clips by mobile phones,” said Saleema, a student.
 The students say Major Rajindra used to harass the teachers. “When we objected, he got a grenade exploded in the school premises in 2007 and ruthlessly beat up all the staff and students of the school. He even broke the arms of a senior teacher, Sanaullah Radoo. On this incident we filed a case against him in police station Sopur,” said a teacher who, fearing reprisal, wished not to be named.
 After the withdrawal of troops from the school, the roll of female students has started to increase. “We were not allowed by our parents to take admission in the school due to presence of troops here, my several friends dropped out of the school and hundreds were shifted to other schools. Now they want to return,” said Tabasum, a class 10 student.
 The villagers are happy that they succeeded in removing the camp, but the police is yet to produce challan against the killers of Muhammad Amin Tantray and Jamal Ahmad Dar who were shot dead in broad daylight by the troopers of 22 RR on February 21, 2009, though a magisterial probe has indicted 2 soldiers and a JCO of the crime.
 The chief minister had also presented the probe report to the defence minister, seeking punishment to the accused soldiers as the state government is incapable of punishing the troops because of the AFSPA.
 “But it seems the case has been closed,” said a local resident, Muhammad Afzal.
 “My sons were innocent. Before my death I want to see the killer troops behind the bars,” says the octogenarian Fazi, mother of Muhammad Amin Tantray.

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