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AJK villagers threaten demos as policemen torture boy

May 02, 2003

MUZAFFARABAD, May 1: The residents of a southern village of Azad Kashmir on Thursday threatened to disrupt the proposed visit of Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan to district Poonch if action was not taken against the policemen who allegedly tortured a young boy for almost a week.

The warning was issued at a large gathering in Khaigala village, some 10 kilometres west of the district headquarters Rawalakot.

The participants expressed their anger over the police department’s inaction to bring to justice the policemen who had detained a boy and subjected him to brutal torture for a week to extort money from his poor parents.

According to sources, ASI Razzaq Qureshi and Constable Sadiq of Rawalakot city police station detained Nasir Majid, a student of 6th grade, on the night of April 13 in connection with a theft in his village.

The two policemen striped the boy, made him lie down on the floor, placed a wooden plank on him and sat on it. This cruel treatment was repeated several times during the one week of his illegal detention. It is said that they were demanding money from the boy’s jobless father. The boy was freed on April 20, sources said.

When the villagers saw the torture marks on the boy’s body, they took to the streets and the procession made its way to Rawalakot and demanded the SP Poonch to suspend the two policemen.

Since no action was taken, some 200 villagers protested on Tuesday and again on Thursday with the determination to block the main road passing through the village and disrupt the premier’s visit to district Poonch, due to begin in the second week of May.

Meanwhile, “Press for Peace”, an NGO of Kashmiri journalists, has condemned the torture of the boys in Rawalakot police station.

In a letter to the IGP and other government functionaries, the PFP coordinator Khwaja Zafar Iqbal has demanded inquiry into the incident.