BRO workers stage demo in Bhaderwah

Dozens of labourers working with Border Road Organisation (BRO) on the Bhaderwah-Basholi highway staged a demonstration, here in Bhaderwah on Friday and accused the police of “harassing” them.

Alleging harassment by Station House Officer, Bhaderwah, the workers suspended work and started a protest march from Nalthi village to Bhaderwah town. They also raised slogans against SHO Bhaderwah and sought the district administration’s intervention while holding a sit-in at New Bus Stand Kotli.

Nearly 100 agitated workers of 114 RCC of BRO, who board BRO vehicles early in the morning everyday to reach to their respective work sites on the 80 km stretch from Basti to Sarthal on the under-construction Bhaderwah-Basholi highway, claimed that the SHO “snatched the keys of their vehicles”.

 “We have been boarding BRO vehicles every morning and like other parts of the state, the arrangement is going on since the past two decades without any hindrance from any quarter. What we are unable to fathom is the reason behind the SHO trying to harass us,” Tariq Zargar, a worker, said.

“We have been pushed to the corner as the police officer’s action prompted the BRO officials to stop boarding poor workers in their vehicles. We have also been asked to arrange our own transport or leave the job by the higher ups,” Zargar claimed.

“As of now, public transport does not ply on the road and under the given circumstances the police action will leave us jobless. Our appeal to the authorities is to reach at a permanent solution or we will be compelled to intensify our protest against the SHO Bhaderwah,” another protesting worker, Sajjad Ahmed, said.

Later, Sarpanch Sartingal, Irshad Lawai, and other people also joined the protesting workers.

They also met the Tehsildar Zeeshan Tahir, who assured that a meeting with the concerned police officer and BRO authorities would be called in to settle the issue.

On being contacted Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Aadil Rishu, said, “A police team led by SHO Bhaderwah were on traffic duty at Nalthi on Bhaderwah-Basholi Road. During checking, a one ton 407 vehicle and an open half body truck of Beacon were seen coming downhill towards Bhaderwah town. In both the vehicles, workers were found to be hanging, thereby putting their life at risk. Both the drivers were asked to show valid papers, which they failed to.”

“Accordingly, both these vehicles were taken into custody and an FIR was registered. Now they are staging all the drama on the behest of OC 114 RCC to hide their follies,” the SDPO said.