Villagers Allege Army ‘Torture’ in Poonch Ambush Crackdown | News | India News


JAMMU: Five villagers among a larger group of nine picked up by the army following a terror ambush in J&K’s Poonch last month that killed four soldiers have told police that they were “tortured severely” during detention. The disclosures have been made during a police probe into the deaths of three of the civilians in custody.
The five men appeared before Surankote police in Poonch district, where the army vehicles were ambushed in the Dera Ki Gali area on December 21, and narrated their ordeal, sources said. A sixth person is still in hospital.
The army authorities in Jammu were not reachable for comment on the allegations. The three deaths and the injuries had sparked widespread anger in the area, forcing the army to shift four officers, including a brigadier. Defence minister Rajnath Singh had met some of the injured civilians in Rajouri and urged the army to ensure no innocent was harmed in terror crackdowns.
The five who appeared before the cops include Lal Hussain (70), Israel (20), Jameel Ahmed (18), Riaz Ahmed (25) and his brother Farooq Ahmed (19). All hail from Topa Peer village. “They appeared before the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) and SHO of Surankote today,” said Mohammad Sadeeq, uncle of Showkat Ali, one of the three civilians killed.
According to Sadeeq, the sixth villager, Irfan (18), is in a Srinagar hospital after initially being treated at the army’s Command Hospital in Jammu’s Udhampur. “The elderly Lal Hussain was released the same day (December 22) and the rest remained in custody. Three, including my nephew Showkat, were killed that day in the army’s custody,” Sadeeq, a former panchayat member of his village, said.
Sadeeq claimed that after the ambush, a total of 29 civilians had been picked up by the army. This included the nine from Topa Peer and others from villages in Poonch and neighbouring Rajouri. According to Sadeeq, almost all had required medical aid.


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