Demolition drive turns violent, 6 cops among 30 injured

Neyaz Elahi

Srinagar: At least 30 persons including 6 policemen were injured besides several private vehicles damaged when violent clashes broke out during a major demolition drive on the Parimpore Ghat of Srinagar City on Monday.

The trouble erupted when the demolition squad of Srinagar Municipal Corporation along with the police tried to launch the demolition drive on the Parmpora Ghat along River Jehlum. However, hundreds of residents took to streets and blocked the Srinagar-Baramulla road to thwart the demolition.

Top police officials rushed to spot and tried to persuade the agitating protesters, however, they continued to protest and did not oblige to the repeated requests from the police.
Witnesses said while the policemen attempted to remove the blockade to facilitate the demolition, people offered stiff resistance triggering violent clashes. Police had to fire several teargas canisters and cane-charge the angry protesters forcing them to disperse.

However, the mob was joined by hundreds of protesters who resorted to heavy stone pelting on the police. In the melee, several private vehicles present and parked on the road were damaged. The protesters marched towards the main road and attacked a posse of police. But soon police reinforcements reached the spot and resorted to aerial firing thus preventing the situation from escalation.

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Eyewitnesses told CNS that angry protesters who according to locals have constructed illegal structures along the banks of River Jehlum resorted to stone pelting and in the ensuing scuffle 6 policemen including Divisional Officer Bemina police station Wasim Ahmed and SPO Rifat Aktar were injured. Reports said that over two dozen protesters were also injured during the clashes.

“The politicians befooled us from time to time, encouraged us to settle down in the area. One of the politician in a bid to grab votes, promised us that he will name our coloney on the name of his mother,” said a angry woman protester draped in shrouds.

“These are the court orders and we have to abide by these orders. Few people who have encroached the flood channels and river banks are putting the lives of thousands of people to risk. We will follow court directions to demolish every illegal structure along the river banks and flood-channels,” a top police officials present on the spot told CNS.

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Meanwhile, police has registered an FIR into the incident including stone pelting and launched a manhunt to nab the accused. “We have video-graphed the whole incident and identification of stone-pelters is on. We hope to arrest them soon,” a senior police officer said. (CNS)