Jammu,Sep 22: After three long years, police in Mandi tehsil of Poonch district have summoned at least eight persons, including a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader to appear before it for their alleged involvement in damaging government property and participating in Amarnath land row demonstrations of 2008.
Sources said that Mandi police have sent warrants to eight youths, including Riyaz Atish, a state youth secretary of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to appear before it since cases against them have been registered at the concerned police station.
Sources said, in past two days Mandi police have detained four persons , Muhammad Din Khan, Rafiq Ahmed (a barber), Farooq Ahmed and another person in rioting case .
"These persons were bailed out after two days of custody," sources said.
Among these persons, sources said, Rafiq Ahmed,18, a barber by profession is the sole bread earner in the family.
Expressing strong resentment, the families of the arrested persons said that they were being unnecessarily harassed on the pretext of reopening of the cases of Amarnath land row. They said that the police action could lead to public backlash and aggravate the situation in border town.
"The police have implicated these youth in false cases of the happenings that took place three years ago," said a worried father, whose son has also been called to appear before the Mandi police.
The aged man said that police had arrested a poor youth Rafiq Ahmed who was a minor at that time. "He had not even a single penny to secure bail for himself. Money for his bail was paid by someone else," said Muhammad Ramzan (name changed).
Ramzan alleged that dozens of locals were injured that year when police resorted to indiscriminate firing on the peaceful demonstrators which led to mass scale protests. The situation was brought under control when the police assured adequate relief to the injured persons and job to one family member of the injured who later succumbed. But instead of fulfilling its promise, the police have launched a witch-hunt against the innocent people.
Then DIG Poonch Rajouri range, SD Jamwal and then SSP Poonch had promised to provide job to the widow of the deceased but it was never fulfilled, Ramzan rued adding how come they are arresting people who have themselves been victim of atrocities.
Leader of opposition PDP, Mehbooba Mufti, expressed surprise over the arrest of persons after three years. "I am surprised about the arrests in connection with the 2008 land row agitation. It is totally wrong as such a move by police can disturb the situation in the district which is not a good sign."
Confirming the police action, Deputy Commissioner Poonch Ajit Kumar Sahu said, " We have not closed the cases. It takes time to collect evidences and carry on investigations. Law will talk its own course."