A minor boy Monday set himself ablaze when he along with the locals of Saida Kadal and adjoining areas were protesting against the demolition drive of Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA).
Reports alleged that as soon as a demolition squad of LAWDA reached the spot to dismantle “recently erected” constructions, residents came out in a protest. They were shouting slogans and blocked the movement on road.
The police that was deployed in strength resorted to tear smoke shelling to quell the protests and to clear the road. Witnesses said they also chased the protesting residents in which some of them fell down and were allegedly beaten. A group of the protestors wore funeral shrouds. It was in this melee that the minor boy while fleeing from the spot set himself afire. Incidentally this boy was also wearing the funeral shroud.
He was later rushed to SMHS hospital for treatment.
Witnesses said as the boy was caught in the fire that he lit, a huge contingent of the cops deployed to manage law and order were seen watching the ‘show’. They could have intervened and helped him, one caller said on phone.
However, when contacted, Nigeen police station couldn’t confirm the news saying, “nothing could be said right now as SHO is still on ground.”
Asked about the status of the boy, Medical Superintendent of SMHS hospital said he has sought a report from Chief Medical Officer. “Once it reaches me, I will be able to tell you the status,” he said.
Meanwhile, the protesting locals of the area while speaking to Kashmir Life refuted the allegations of blocking traffic on Rainawari-Hazratbal route. “It were Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel who stopped the vehicular movement on the route,” said a local, Kifayat. “The constructions are 40 years old in the area. There is no new constructions going on this time.”
The locals claimed that they have “all the documents” supporting their claim, however, LAWDA has been maintaining that the land under these people is Nazool.