Three persons from the Kashmir Valley, one of them allegedly a special police officer (SPO), were held for pelting stones at tourist vehicles in Nagbal area on the outskirts of Srinagar city on Saturday (April 22) evening. It was the drivers and conductors of the tourist vehicles who took them to a local police station after luring them into a meeting. Though the local police clearly said no such incident took place.
The tourism department has called it an unfortunate incident and a case which brings shame to Kashmir. According to Kashmir Reader, Mehmood Shah, Director of Tourism, Kashmir, has contacted the police authorities to look into the matter and also appealed to the people of the Kashmir Valley to refrain from harassing tourists. "Incidents like these gives bad name to Kashmir," he said.
According to reports, the incident took place at around 6 pm in the Nagbal Chowk when the fleet of 12 buses were on their way back from Sonmarg. Ashiq Ahmad, one of the drivers, said: "Their (stone throwers) specific target was the tourist vehicles. No other vehicle was targeted except tourist buses."
He said the tourists panicked on seeing that stones were being pelted at their vehicles.
According to him, the girl students who were protesting at the Nagbal Chowk, moved away peacefully, but some other people took to throwing stones at them.
During the incident, a few of the drivers and conductors caught hold of one of the stone-pelters and confiscated his mobile phone and car keys. Later, they lured the accused into meeting them at the Muniwar Chowk by asking him to collect his belongings. When the person arrived with two others, the drivers caught hold of them. "When we checked their identity cards, one of them was carrying a police ID," said Ahmad.
The accused were taken to the Khanyar Police Station and handed over the trio there. They were later shifted to Zakura Police Station.
Interestingly, Ahmad also added that when the men were throwing stones at the tourist buses, the CRPF and police personnel present on the spot did not take any action.
Police refutes allegations
But Dr Rameez Raja, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, has categorically refuted the version, claiming no such incident took place.