Srinagar: The government forces have attacked a locality in south Kashmir’s Bijbehara town where a prominent author-journalist lives with his parents. In a statement the author Murtaza Shibli said that the attack was carried out as an act of revenge for his article that exposed chief minister Mehbobba Mufti’s “doublespeak”.
“A day after I published an article dissecting Jammu and Kashmir chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s display of crocodile tears for the family’s of those slain by her own forces, an unruly group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) attacked our locality,” Shibli wrote on his facebook page.
My article, exposing Mufti’s Janice-faced character, was published in the leading Srinagar daily, Kashmir Reader, and The News, Pakistan’s largest circulated English daily.
Few hours after my story was published, I heard from some sources that the local unit of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Mufti was enraged and wanted revenge. Mufti, like her father, is very concerned about her public image and has invested millions to circulate falsehoods and manipulations through an army of media consultants, PDP-affiliated newspapers and journalists.
Last evening, when I went for a usual stroll down the main road and was half way towards the old-town, several of my well wishers and friends advised me to go home early as PDP was planning to attack me, because my expose of Mehbooba Mufti had caused them a deep embarrassment. I was even told by a source that Mufti’s cousin and a provincial party leader, Sajjad Mufti, had promised a ‘tough action’ against me.
Around 5:30, a group of Jammu and Kashmir Police and CRPF descended upon the Sicop Mohalla, Bijbehara. Akin to the old cowboy movies, they came running like raiders, making howling noises to cause fear and throwing around high-pitched tirades of all sorts of profanities to demoralise women folk. First, we thought they were chasing boys who were demonstrating against the ongoing atrocities, about 500 yards from our houses. But they stayed in and solely targeted our locality like total psychopaths.
Since we had closed our main gates from inside, he men in khaki attacked several houses, breaking glass windows and destroying properties. The worst damage was caused to my parental house where I currently stay. For almost half an hour, the JKP-CRPF combine targeted our three houses with stones and batons, destroying more than two dozens large and small glass windows, window frames causing damage worth lacks of rupees. They also tried to break into our main gate, but gave up after several attempts.
During the siege that continued for almost three hours, the unruly soldiers attacked many other houses causing some damage and frightening about 300 people, including women and children that live in our locality. They also smashed granite sheets worth several lakhs of rupees of a local businessman, Showkat Ahmed Wani.
(This story has been first published in Kashmir Reader)
2015 Kashmir Despatch