M Majid Malik
A young girl is feared to have drowned after she fell while walking across a wooden bridge over Neeru river at Buttala Sartingal village under Bhaderwah police station limits here on Friday.
The deceased, Sheetal Bharti daughter of Satish Kumar resident of Kotli Trown ,Doda , was going to college accompanied by her three friends which were rescued by local people and shifted to Sub-District Hospital Bhadarwah. However, the deceased who was suffering from polio was washed away by the strong currents.
The girls who were rescued were identified as Sharika Devi daughter of Om Parkash resident of Gigrota Pariyot Doda , Shakti Bharti daughter of Satish Kumar resident of Kotli Trown and Anam daughter of Ashiq Hussain resident of Butla village of Bhaderwah.
The narrow wooden bridge, with no adequate safety, was constructed by the locals after the government turned down their appeal to construct a concrete bridge. The bridge has been regularly used by the locals, but on Saturday, the water in the river was overflowing due to heavy rains.
The deceased girl and other 3 girls were crossing the bridge over the Neeru river which connects Buttala village with Sartingal area of Bhaderwah, but when they reached th spot and took a few steps, girls slipped and fell into the river.
The force of the river washed away the girl before anyone could even try to rescue her.
As soon as the news spread, locals from various locations from the surrounding villages reached the spot and began searching for the girl.
They placed pipes and nets in the water in order to obstruct the flow of the river, so that the girl could be spotted. Police personnel also arrived at the spot and the search for the girl is still on.
However following the accident, locals of Buttala , Sartingal , Sherakhi , Basti , Monda and other areas staged a protest against the administration and blocked roads for many hours .
“We have been demanding construction of bridge over Neeru near Butla since long to prevent such an accident,” said Irshad Ahmed Laway a protester.”We use this wooden temporary foot bridge which is made of logs and now it’s completely broken and causing a lot of problem.” Additional District Development Commissioner Bhaderwah, Imam Din along with Tehsildar Masood Ahmed Rangraz also visited the spot and said that efforts were on to search the missing girl at the earliest and for that purpose some teams have been constituted.