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Hajin observed shutdown against Arson, Vandalism by army

A complete shutdown was observed on Thursday in Hajin town of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district against the highhandedness of the army on Wednesday.
All shops and other business establishments were closed while traffic was off the roads.
The shutdown call was given by the Hajin Traders’ Federation. Local residents joined traders and held a protest demonstration, shouting pro-freedom slogans and demanding action against the soldiers who had vandalised shops, houses, vehicles besides setting about 40 haystacks on fire.
“We demand stern action against the forces involved in the incident,” said Mushtaq Ahmad Parrey, president Traders’ Federation.
The protesters said yesterday’s incident was army’s revenge for local support to militants in the area which was once home to the notorious state-sponsored anti-militancy militia called Ikhwan.
“Several days ago the forces had cordoned off Bon Mohalla and Shakoor Din Mohalla after inputs about the presence of militants in the area but the locals including women and children came out of their homes and clashed with the forces and helped the militants escape. That is why yesterday they resorted to vandalism in the area,” locals said.
They said that this was a deliberate attempt by the army to create fear among the locals for supporting militants in the area.
Local youth had clashed with the army after the incident of vandalism. Five persons had been injured. One of them had been hit in his leg by a bullet.
Srinagar-based army defense spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said an area domination patrol of 3 Sector RR was passing through Hajin when “it came under heavy stone-pelting by a mob”.
“The patrol party commander cautioned the crowd not to indulge in stone-pelting. However, the mob continued to target the patrol, injuring three soldiers. After giving a final warning, a few rounds were fired in the air to disperse the mob and the patrol party moved to its destination,” he claimed.