Bandipora: People take to streets to protest Sarpanch’s arrest

Police Uses Force On Protesters: Villagers Accuse PDD Of Failing To Address Power Woes

SUHAIL AJMAL

Shadipora (Bandipora), Feb 4: A day after police arrested a Sarpanch from Tragam area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on charges of uprooting power transmission lines, hundreds of people from the area Monday took to streets to protest the Panchayat representative’s detention.
 The angry protesters, who blocked the Bandipora-Srinagar road near Shadipora for hours together, demanded immediate release of the Sarpanch, Muhammad Tahir Qadri, arguing that “he is innocent.”
 The Panchayat representatives from the district sought immediate release of their colleague. The Panchayat representatives also took to streets in protest against the Power Development Department’s ‘failure’ to rectify technical snags in the distribution system in the area.
 Pertinently Tahir Qadri, the Sarpanch from block Gund Khalil, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly taking law in his hands and removing transmission lines that feed about 20 villages, besides taking PDD officials and a Magistrate hostage.
 The protesters threatened to resign if Qadri was not released forthwith.
 The villagers in Tragam, who took to streets this morning, accused police of using ‘brute force’ on them. “We were holding a peaceful protest demonstration seeking proper power supply and release of innocent Sarpanch. But police used force on us to thwart the protest. They used lathis on us and tried to arrest many protesters,” the villagers told Greater Kashmir.  “It is unfortunate that instead of solving our problems, the government is forcing us to take to streets in protest, and also face the police ire.”
 The villagers said the power supply to areas including Tragaam, Gund Khaleel, Kawaora, Malikpora, Ganstaan, Nowgam ‘A’ and Nowgam ‘B’ was completely erratic from the past few years. “The PDD doesn’t even follow its own schedule,” they said. “The areas are reeling under complete darkness for the past 15 days.”
 A police official however denied use of any force. “The protesters had blocked the main Srinagar-Bandipora road. We tried to convince them to throw the road open but they did not budge an inch. With the result, we resorted to mild lathi-charge to restore the traffic,” a senior police official, wishing anonymity, said.
 The police official from Bandipora told Greater Kashmir that the Sarpanch has been arrested on the basis of a written complaint by PDD officials. “We do not have any personal grudge against him. Law will take its own course,” he said.
 A PDD official alleged that Panchayat members took law in their hands and removed transmission lines feeding about 20 villages besides taking PDD officials and Magistrate hostage. “The Panchayat members removed transmission lines feeding about two dozen villages,” said the Assistant Executive Engineer (PDD), Sumbal, Khursheed Ahmed.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 5 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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