“Shoved gun barrels in mouths, tied civilians to tree”: A ransacked Budgam village – By Kuwar Singh

Table salt is scattered on the floor, along with broken fragments of a water pipe, a firepot, a wall clock, and utensils in the single-storey house. “They took the salt from the kitchen, and rubbed it in our eyes,” says 50-year-old Atiqa Bano as she sifts through the rubble inside her house in Nasrullah Pora. The village in Budgam district of central Kashmir has a population of roughly 15,000. Right now, however, it is mostly deserted.

As they saw armored vehicles entering the village an hour later, most of the men, including Ms. Bano’s husband and three sons, fled fearing detention.… The staircase of their house has been dismantled, and is lying in the front yard. Ms. Bano says the forces tore it from the wall to prevent them from escaping to the attic. 

“The men stormed in from the front gate, over the boundary walls, from every direction,” she says. To stop the women from screaming, “they shoved the barrel of their guns in our mouths.”  They ransacked through Ms. Bano’s belongings, and looted her gold jewellery, two power inverters, and their rice stock, she says.

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