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Ahead of Obama visit, security patrol unnerves Sikhs in J&K villages

November 06, 2010 12:25 IST
Coinciding with President Barack Obama's visit to India, two incidents of uniformed gunmen descending on Sikh hamlets have taken place in the Kashmir Valley, sending jitters among some members of the community.

The Sikhs are apprehensive, fearing a repeat of massacre of 35 Sikhs at Chattisinghpora village in March 2000, when then US President Bill Clinton was on a visit to India.

Uniformed personnel, travelling in a civilian vehicle, on Friday night knocked on the doors of residents of predominantly Sikh-inhabited Hutmura village, 65 km from Srinagar, in Anantnag district, raising concerns among the minority community.

A police spokesman said there was a "misunderstanding" created by a patrol of security forces in Hutmura village which was later sorted out by the intervention of senior civil administration and police officials.

But defence spokesperson Lt Col J S Brar said, "No army unit was involved in the incident."

Sikh community leaders said initially the men of the village fled to the fields but later raised an alarm to attract the attention of Muslim neighbours. The civilians then took on the gunmen, forcing them to flee the spot.

However, they managed to get hold of the driver of their vehicle, who was later handed over to police.

Some Sikh community members have demanded a probe saying a similar incident had taken place in Uplina village in Baramulla district on the night of November 3.

"There seems to be a pattern to these incidents and the Sikhs are feeling insecure at the moment," All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina said.

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