Water Crises Take Ugly Turn In Kishtwar

Asif Iqbal Naik
The water crises in Kishtwar District Monday takes ugly turn when a mob of over 200 people vandalizes the office of Executive Engineer PHE Division Kishtwar at Hidyal after police allegedly use force (cane charge) on the peaceful protesters protesting against PHE officials for their failure in providing them the drinking water resulted into injured to over half dozen persons including SHO Police Station Kishtwar Mushtaq Ahmed, Section Officer CID(CI) Kishtwar Mushtaq Bazdar who was on duty at the time the incident took place. As per the officials,  Mushtaq Bazdar was injured while preventing the mob from putting the government property on fire, besides saving the Executive Engineer PHE Kishtwar Abdul Wahid Zarger from the clutches of mob who had roughed up him.
According to details, one group of protestors including women and children’s block the main road at Hidyal Chowk Kishtwar, followed by other groups who held protest at Dak Banglow Chowk and outside PHE Office resulted into disrupting of vehicular movement in entire Kishtwar town and its vicinity. The reports further added that the crowd assembled outside PHE office was peacefully protesting when police allegedly use force to disburse them. The people also show its anger towards PHE officials who give no response towards the public outcry.
Police however denied the allegation and said that the protestors outside PHE office went on rampage and broke furniture of PHE office, set some documents on fire and roughed up the Xen PHE Kishtwar forcing them restore cane charge in presence duty magistrate resulted into injury to over half dozen people including SO CID(CI) Kishtwar, two minor children’s including 8th class student Amit Parihar who had develop a fracture in his right arm. Nearly half dozen police personals including SHO Police Station Kishtwar Mushtaq Ahmed also sustain minor injuries in stone pelting. Sensing trouble, DC Kishtwar Saleem Mohammad Chowdhary along with SP Kishtwar Dr. Sunil Gupta also reach the spot and tries to pacify the agitating people, but all their efforts fail to yield any result.
Later the protestors were joined by the political leaders from BJP, PDP, NCP and also by some social activists.  The angry protestors raising slogans against district administration, PHE officials and police held a protest march passing through various bazaars of Kishtwar town and held a strong protest outside DC Office Kishtwar condemning the police action.
While addressing the gathering outside DC Office Kishtwar, various speakers termed the use of force by police on peaceful protestors as undemocratic and demanded action against the police officers involved in cane charging. The speakers also demanded an independent probe through IB or CBI against the huge assets of PHE officials. They alleged that PHE officials posted in Kishtwar District has accumulated huge property in the form of luxurious houses at Kishtwar, Jammu, Srinagar, besides gathering huge moveable property. They further alleged that water supply schemes worth corers of rupees were missing on ground and accuse the department of issuing work orders for various workers without issuing any tender. They said that despite having abundance of resources, over one lakh population residing in and around Kishtwar town are suffering on account of drinking water forcing the people to choose agitating path on routine bases. They said that officials posted on prestigious Naigard Water supply scheme give illegal connection to politically influential people including stone crusher owners, beside sell the tanker water to contractors and private business units including motor service stations. The agitators demanded an immediate transfer of all the local PHE officials, beside an action against them for promotion of corruption within the department.
Meanwhile police has registered an FIR against some people involved in vandalizing the government property, besides assaulting on police personal on duty. Keeping in view of all party protest call for tomorrow, District Administration and police has held several meeting to chalk out the preparation for maintenance of law and order in Kishtwar town and its vicinity aroused due to water crises situation in Kishtwar town and its adjoining areas.


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