As if stone-throwing protesters weren’t enough, security forces in Kashmir now have a new irritant, particularly in Srinagar.
Hostile locals are making things difficult for the men in uniform by pouring automobile engine oil on shop fronts where troopers sometimes sit and rest after standing for hours.
In the Bohri Kadal locality of Srinagar’s old city area, several shop fronts have been painted black with the sticky lubricant so that the security personnel on duty cannot sit on them.
There is a heavy deployment of both the state police and CRPF personnel in Srinagar, especially in the sensitive areas like the old city to contain the current unrest that has been raging since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
Srinagar’s old city is a highly volatile area where a large number of youth often hit the streets after the Friday congregation prayers and pelt stones at security forces.
“They do not want us to sit here when we get tired standing. And they also do not want us to keep our helmets, or protection gear on it… so the black oil,” said a CRPF personnel from Uttar Pradesh.
Another jawan posted in the area explained that in times of unrest when their duty stretches for long hours, the shop fronts become convenient to either keep their belongings or sit for a while in between patrolling the streets.
“The paints were put last night and I have not been able to sit even once. And I can’t leave this position and take little rest somewhere else because then it will be a lapse in my duty,” he said.
Locals say the used engine oil is probably acquired by the youth from garages. And as another summer of discontent unfolds in Kashmir, the oily attack has added a new dimension to current round of protests.