Srinagar: In a video that has emerged days after the violence-hit Srinagar by-election, a Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF soldier shows remarkable restraint as he is heckled, slapped and kicked by a mob.
In the video that has been widely circulated online, the soldier, apparently returning from a polling booth after voting on Sunday, is kicked on the shin and hit on the head by young men in a crowd that walks with him shouting slogans. One attacker flips off his helmet. Nothing they do provokes any reaction.
The fully-armed soldier keeps walking calmly with a rifle in his hand. He has been quoted in various reports as saying that he wanted to keep the EVMs or Electronic Voting Machines that he and his comrades were carrying from the polling station safe.
"At times there are allegations that CRPF uses pellet guns. This video was made by the public and uploaded by the public, it clearly shows they are being harassed, not retaliating," CRPF spokesperson Bhavnesh Kumar Chowdhary told NDTV.
"The kind of restraint they are observing, it is really commendable because they gave importance to the security of the EVM. They want to uphold democracy," he said.
Union Minister Hansraj Ahir said the video "shows the patience of jawans."
That day, unprecedented violence was seen in the by-polls for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency. Eight people died and nearly 100 were injured. The turnout was the lowest in 30 years. Visuals that have surfaced since then show EVMs being burnt and damaged.
The by-election for Anantnag constituency, which was due today, has been deferred to May 25 on a request from the state's ruling PDP.