SRINAGAR: In a gory incident a labourer was filmed dying a painful and pathetic death on an electric pole on Budshah Chowk, in heart of Srinagar on Sunday. His companion survived with crippling injuries in the tragedy.
This is the second such incident in last five months in which a lineman was caught dying on cell phone. The earlier incident was reported from a Banihal village, late last year.
Reports identified the slain man as Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, son of Abdul Khaliq Bhat, a resident of Goripora Rainawari. Tragically, he was a labourer working for a contractor. The other person who is injured is also resident of the same loaclity and was identified as Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, son of Bashir Ahmad Bhat.
As the two were on the electric pole, struggling to survive, hundreds of commuters were on the road crying and chest beating. There was uproar and the police had to intervene to save the situation. It was in this melee that someone was filming the “murder” that will be a crucial piece of evidence to bring the culprits to book. The video shows Mushtaq, calmly dead on the power lines and his companion dangling upside down struggling to survive. There are huge male wails heard but it is unclear if they belonged to the injured struggler on the wires.
As concerned people assembled on the road creating chaos on the otherwise crowded bridge, the government drove rescue teams from the fire services department that got the dead man untangled from the wires. They first somehow got the seriously injured man out and drove him to hospital. Witnesses alleged the PDD took a long time to disconnect the circuit and rescue also came late.
City Police Chief Imtiaz Imail said they have registered a case and have started investigations.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Farooq Ahmed Lone, has directed Assistant Commissioner Srinagar Sajad Qadri to enquire into the alleged negligence of electric department which resulted in the death of one lineman and serious injuries to another.
PDD sources told Kashmir Life that neither of the two, who were caught entangled, on the wires belonged to the department. “They were labourers working for a contractor who is implementing a contract of improvement of HT and LT lines in the area,” one official speaking anonymously said. “They were supposed to repair a different pole but they climb up a live wire.”
The official said that the area offers passage to two 11000 volt feeders. “They were supposed to repair one feeder that had no current but they went to another that was live,” the official said. The claims of the official were not immediately cross-checked by Kashmir Life for lack of access to the contractor implementing the project.
In immediate follow up to the tragic incident, the PDD high ups have put the services of three of its official under suspension, pending enquiry. They are concerned AEE, junior engineer and senior technician.
But poor linemen dying up above the poles is nothing new in J&K. The last incident was reported from Sangrama where a PDD lineman Mohammad Ramzan Tantary had a providential escape while repairing the wires on a pole.
Mushtaq’s tragic death on an electric pole is second such incident in which a death on a pole was filmed live by people. The last incident took place in Banhial in November.
SP (East) Sheikh Faisal told Kashmir Life that the injured labourter who was driven to hospital is highly critical. “We have started the investigations,” he said.
Incidentally, the slain and the injured persons being private persons, they are unlikely to get any benefit which normally state government official get. Sources said they lacked any insurance cover simply be3cause the insurance to workers is not part of the contract mechanism.