KL NEWS NETWORK
Many people including children were injured in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Tuesday when police allegedly resorted to lathi charge and tear smoke shelling to disperse the villagers protesting against shortage of electricity in the district.
Eyewitnesses told CNS that Kulgam district observed a complete shutdown against the non-availability of electricity. All the shops and business establishments remained shut. The call for shutdown was given by apolitical organization Falah Behbood Committee Kulgam.
Reports said that people from different hamlets of the district including traders community assembled in large numbers and protested against shortage of electricity in main chowk. The protesters alleged that since September this year almost all the hamlets of the district have been reeling under darkness while the Power Development Department officials particularly the Executive Engineer have been doing nothing to supply them electricity as per schedule.
The protesters amid anti-PDD slogans blocked the road. A huge contingent of police reached the spot and asked the protesters to disperse. However, they refused after which police resorted to baton charge, and lobbed tear gas shells to quell the protesters, reports said.
Reports added that several people mostly children sustained injuries and were rushed to the hospital for treatment. The agitated protesters pelted stones on the police. The clashes continued for hours.
Castigating police for using excessive force on the peaceful protesters, one of the members of Falah Behboodh Committee, Nisar Ahmed, said, “the freedom and liberty of the people have been curtailed to the extent that even peaceful protests are not allowed for a right cause.”
He alleged that police lobbed tear smoke shells at a Darasgah resulting in the injuries of many little children. “The power supply in the district this winter has been totally erratic and the PDD does not even follow their own schedule,” he said.
A police official alleged that protesters tried to set the government vehicle of Tehsildar Devsar on fire as a result they used tear gas shells to disperse them.
Shortly after the violent protests and clashes DC Kulgam suspended two employees of the PDD including a Junior Engineer for dereliction of duties.
District Development Commissioner Kulgam Syed Abid said that he will look into the matter. “We will resolve all the issue on priority basis. I have already directed the PDD officials to supply electricity as per schedule,” he said.