India - Ahead Of Obama's India Visit, Uniformed Men Appear At Sikh Village In South Kashmir | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
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India Ahead Of Obama's India Visit, Uniformed Men Appear At Sikh Village In South Kashmir

Chaan Pardesi

Oct 5, 2008
London & Kuala Lumpur
Srinagar: A few hours before the president of United States Barrack Obama was scheduled to arrive in New Delhi, uniformed men appeared at Hutmurah, a Sikh village, near Mattan in south Kashmir on late Friday night and asked inhabitants to come out of their homes. However, police said it was a misunderstanding and it has been sorted out.

“At least eight to ten Sumo borne uniformed men appeared in our area late in the night. They banged our doors and asked us to come out.However, we raised an alarm following which they fled away,” locals told Greater Kashmir over phone.

They said that they managed to catch the sumo-driver along with his vehicle (No. JK-03 -3077) and handed him over to the Mattan police.

The village is barely 10 kilometers away from the Islamabad (Anantnag) town on the Khanabal-Pahalgam (KP) road. Massive protests were going on in the village as members of Sikh community along with Muslims had assembled in a local Gurduwara.

“The army men were on usual patrolling in the area as
a result of which there was a confusion and misunderstanding. But later the senior police officials reached the spot and the matter was sorted out,” the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Shafakat Ahmad Watali told Greater Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Gurduwara Prabhandakh Committee (GPC) has appealed the Sikh community to remain calm and cautious.
The Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also expressed concern over the incident. “We appeal the members of Sikh community to remain cautious and watchful,” he said.

Mirwaiz asked the members of the majority community to take care of their Sikh brethren and keep a close watch on strangers till the president of United States Barack Obama is in India. “We need to ensure that Chatisinghpora is not repeated,” he added.

Pertinently, at least 35 members of the Sikh community were massacred on March 20, 2000 when former US President Bill Clinton was visiting India. Authorities had claimed that militants had carried out the massacre but investigations later proved that it was the handiwork of government forces.

Chaan Pardesi

Oct 5, 2008
London & Kuala Lumpur
In a later report ...Army men harrass Sikhs in a Islamabad Village

Srinagar, November 5: Amid apprehensions of Chattisnghpora like massacre around the visit of United States President Barrack Obama to New Delhi, a group of Army men Friday night appeared in Hatmulla village of South Kashmir’s Islamabad district, and allegedly threatened the members of the Sikh community.

Eyewitnesses told Kashmir Dispatch that panic gripped Hatmulla area of the district on Friday night when over a dozen Army men belonging to Army’s 3 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) appeared in the village in a private sumo. The Army men, eyewitnesses said knocked at the doors of the Sikh community members and asked them to come out of their houses. However, the community members refused to open their doors and raised an alarm.

Within minutes, eyewitnesses said, hundreds of men, women and children of the community carrying swords, Kirpans came out on the Islamabad-Pahalgham road and chased away the Army men and informed the police and the civil administration.

The sumo (JKO3A 3077) the troopers were travelling in was also seized and its driver arrested.

“The Army men in inebriated condition appeared in the village and knocked our doors. They asked us to come out of the houses. When we refused, the Army men loaded their guns and threatened us,” Sikh Students Federation, President, Sukhvinder Sodhi told Kashmir Dispatch.

“They (Army) wanted to repeat Chattisinghpora massacre. We mustered courage and chased away them,” Sodhi said adding the vehicle left by the Army men at the spot raises fingers of suspicion towards their intention.

On the evening of 20 March 2000, 15-17 unidentified gunmen, dressed in Indian army fatigues, entered the village of Chattisinghpora, in Islamabad district. The group ordered all of the Sikh men and boys to assemble at the village gurdwara, and systematically shot and killed 34 of them.

“Why did the Army men flee from the area, if they were concerned for our safety,” he asked.

Satpal Singh, another local said that after fleeing from the village, the Army men reappeared and threatened the community members in front of a senior police official. He said had the top police brass and civil administration not reached the spot, things could have been ugly.

“This is the height of arrogance. How can the uniformed men meant for our security point their guns at us in front of a police official,” Singh said.

“All the 160 houses of our community are deserted. We have taken shelter in Gurudwara,” he added.

Singh said that the community members have decided to hold a meeting in the morning to discuss the incident and decide the future course of action.

Despite repeated attempts, senior civil and police officials did not respond to the phone calls by Kashmir Dispatch.

However, a police press release issue late night refuted the allegations leveled against the Army. “A misunderstanding got created by a patrol of a security force at Hatmur, Mattan in Anantnag this evening. The senior civil and police officers rushed to the spot and the matter was sorted out,” the police statement said.

Chaan Pardesi

Oct 5, 2008
London & Kuala Lumpur
ANOTHER REPORT;------Sikhs in a Baramulla hamlet scared as army men knock at night

Police downplays incident, SCC shoots SOS to Omar Abdullah

Srinagar, Nov 05: Just days before U.S. President Obama’s landing in India, uniformed men, believed to be sleuths of Rashtriya Rifles, knocked doors amid crude abuses in an all-Sikh hamlet, Upalna, four kilometers from North Kashmir’s Baramulla town. An officer of the local army unit has owned the act, saying the “boys needed some help” but the Sikh residents are frightened by the act.Valley’s Sikh leaders have expressed anguish over the incident and sought Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s intervention into the matter.

According to the secretary Gurduwara Committee, Upalna, Sardar Amreekh Singh, a group of armed men, wearing army uniform knocked at the doors of several houses including that of Gurmeet Singh, Inder Singh and Raviraj Singh. “They said hum aap ke apnay aadmi hain, darwaza kholo (we’re your own men, open the door). When we refused they started abusing and hurled dirty invectives,” Amreekh told Rising Kashmir over phone from Upalna.

He said the army men had traveled to the village in a private vehicle that was later abandoned near a timber depot.The night intervening 3 and 4 November was more than a nightmare for at least 95 households of this all-Sikh village, situated on a hillock near
Baramulla town. “The officers of the nearby camp of army’s 52 RR and the local administration had already instructed us not to open door if anyone knocks during night.”

On Thursday morning, the locals complained in Police and a police party led by a Dy SP inspected the area. “They found a private vehicle near the timber depot. They let the driver go. We also asked him about the incident, he looked upset and said he did what he was forced to do.”

A major from the camp of 52 RR camp, which falls less than 100 meters from the Upalna village, also visited the village. “Major said they were army men from the upper post and needed help. But we told him if they were from upper post why did they seek our help rather than going straightway to the camp.”

When contacted, SSP Baramulla, Mansoor Untoo dismissed the incident as a routine. “The incident is being blown out of proportion. No such thing happened as the troops were on normal patrol. The area falls under security zone. Not just army, we also patrol the area during nights”. However the villagers feel unsafe particularly in the backdrop of massacre of at least 35 Sikhs in South Kashmir in 2000 a day before then U.S. President Bill Clinton landed in India. “This time Obama is coming. Such act is bound to create fears, we feel terrified,” said Amreekh Singh.

Jagmohan Singh Raina of Sikh Coordination Committee said he had shot a SoS mail to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who is yet to respond.

Sikh population has been going through occasional bouts of fear ever since the Chittisinghpora incident in 2000. During the separatist campaign this summer some miscreants roughed up a Sikh youth at South Kashmir’s Tral Township. The act was widely condemned and the separatists had reassured the Sikhs while blaming “government agencies” for the mischief. In September, mysterious letters were found ina Gurduwara, also pated at the doors of some Sikh houses in uptown. The letters had threatened Sikhs to join protests
or leave Kashmir. This too was condemned by separatists.

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Sat Sri Akaal,

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