Human Shield Never To Vote Again In Life

A young man who went to a polling booth in Srinagar to vote in a by-election returned home after fracturing his hand when he was used as a human shield by jawans. He resolved never to vote again.

Srinagar: A new wave of dissent and fatalism is sweeping Kashmir valley.  A young man who had faith in democratic process and voted in the recent by-poll for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat had a horrible experience with the armed forces. He got his hand fractured and resolved not to vote again in his life.

Only 7.1 percent of the voters in Srinagar Lok Sabha Constituency had voted to send former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to Parliament. Farooq himself has been talking against India disputing the fact of Jammu & Kashmir merger in India. One of the few persons that had voted was Farooq Ahmad Dar, 26, a small shawl merchant. He left his home in the morning to exercise his franchise and returned in the evening with a broken arm.

He was used as a human shield by the jawans of Rashtriya Rifles to stop the stone- throwing protestors. One of the stones had hit Ahmad fracturing his left arm. According to the information Ahmad had given to the newspapers, he and his brother had set out on two different two wheelers to go to nearby polling booths. While Ahmad was on his way back home, about 15 jawans stopped him questioning about the place he was coming from. He replied that he was returning from the polling booth. But the jawans started beating him up alleging that he was pelting stones on the armed forces.

Afterwards, he was made to sit on the bonnet of a jeep and then tied him with ropes. The jeep travelled to more than 15 villages with Ahmad sitting like a duck. Ahmad’s brother was following the jeep pleading with the jawans to leave him. The jawans threatened to tie up Ahmad’s brother also if they made a fuss. Ahmad told them that he never pelted stones in his life and he had been leading a normal life doing Shawl business. But the jawans used him as a shield to protect themselves from the stone throwing youth. An anonymous police officer had agreed that Ahmad was used as a shield and he was taken round for more than 20 kms.

Ahmad and his brother are in two minds on complaining to the police. If they lodge a complaint there is every possibility that Ahmad would be arrested or kidnapped. They fear harassment by the para-military jawans. Ahmad said his two hands became useless and he does not know how to continue with manufacturing of shawls. He said he has lost faith in democracy and would never vote again in the rest of his life.

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