Protests broke out Saturday in Balakote area of this border district of Jammu over the construction of a sentry post and bathrooms by army on a graveyard despite objections by the locals and the district administration.
Scores of residents of Spalichher village near Line of Control (LoC) here staged anti-army demonstrations today when they discovered that the soldiers of 15 Bihar Regment have started construction of the sentry posts and bathrooms at the graveyard, officials and local reports said. The protesting locals said that despite the instructions of police and district administration, the army went ahead and continue with construction.
As the protests were going on, senior police and civil administration officials reached the spot and told army not to go ahead with the constructions.
“Locals of the area brought the issue into our notice and we accordingly told the army not to raise any construction around the graveyard,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mendhar, Surinder Singh Chowdary told GNS.
Pertinently, an army team had appeared at the graveyard on Friday and started digging the graves for the construction purpose. The army had continued construction work even as the residents had objected strongly to their move. It was only after district administration and police had intervened, army had stopped the work. However, during night, the soldiers had dug number of graves causing much disappointment and resentment among the locals.
A local Nambardar of Balakote Mohammad Reyaz Khan while talking to GNS said that despite repeated requests the army did not paid any heed.
“Around 20 graves were dug which is totally against our religious sentiments”, he said.
When contacted army’s PRO Col Manish Mehta feigned ignorance about the incident.
“Now that you have brought the issue in my notice, I will look into it,” he added.