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.
Ms. Bano has also returned only briefly to assess the damage. Since last Friday, she has been spending the night under the open sky in the farms behind the village along with a few other villagers. Even when the rains drenched her and the others on Saturday night, they did not dare to return home in the dark.
That’s how it has been since personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) raided her village on Friday afternoon, after Fayaz Hussain, a deputy superintendent of police, was injured during a fight with the residents at the local mosque at about 2 pm.
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. So when the troops came back for another raid around 11 pm that night, only her 25-year-old daughter was home with her.
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.
While Ms. Bano was gagged, she says, her daughter was beaten up with the butt of a gun, injuring her right arm badly. Ms. Bano ran to the fields after the forces had left, and people there took her daughter to a hospital.
In the raid, the police detained seven men, whom “they kept tied to a tree, and took away in the evening,” says Ghulam Rasool Dar, an 80-year-old resident of the village. Among the detainees is Ms. Bano’s octogenarian father, Abdul Gaffar Dar.