The J-K police have started a probe into the army claim of militants’ presence in Leh and filed an FIR against army personnel for allegedly harassing tourists on the pretext of searching of militants.
The personnel of the army’s 3 Division allegedly entered into three hotels --- Hotel Masarovar, Holiday Inn and Keddar Guest House – and checked rooms, where both domestic and foreign tourists were putting up, on May 30-31 night.
In Srinagar, the police have refuted the army claim of militants' presence in Leh. “Taking cognizance of a statement of defence spokesman, the police want to inform that there is no presence of militants in Leh,” said a senior police officer in a statement.
The police are now looking into the motives of the army personnel who searched the hotels in Leh, 200 km north-east of Srinagar. “Since the Armed Force Special Power Act is not in force in Leh, the police have lodged an FIR under Section 452, 148, 342 RPC on a complaint lodged with it,” said the police officer.
The army has also initiated an investigation into the allegation that the troops misbehaved with some foreign tourists but maintain there were reports of militants sneaking into the area. “Our troops had received intercepts about satellite phones being used at some places, so they (troops) started checking the area on Monday,” said army’s Srinagar-based spokesman Lt Col JS Brar.
He however, denied any tourist being harassed. “We are still investigating the matter,” he said.
According to the the J&K’s Tourism department there are around five thousand tourists, majority of them foreigners, in Leh this time.