SRINAGAR: Nine people including eight women were injured Thursday when police lathi- charged Saraibala residents who were demonstrating against the paucity of water in their area.
Situation took an ugly turn when women from Sarai bala and Sarai Payeen area blocked the main road in morning in the form of human chain demanding water supply to their areas be restored. But as soon a contingency of police arrived at the scene situation worsened and police had to cane charge protestors and also fired some rounds in the air.
Locals allege that the police misbehaved with women who were protesting against the non-availability of water in the area. “It was a peaceful protest and nobody was asking for Azadi. Policemen beat us in presence of their senior officials,” protesting woman told Kashmir Reader.
Masjid Iqra Sarai Bala President, Bashir Ahmed Malik said that locals here are suffering due to want of potable water. “From past five years, administration is giving assurances to the people that water pipes will be laid in the area, but nothing was done,” he said.
“When police started to beat us we laid down on road but the SHO Sherigari police station ordered to drive the vehicle over us. Only the timely intervention of some of the ladies somehow saved us,’’ protesting women said while accusing the concerned SHO of hitting a lady with a gun in the abdomen. “The lady had been operated upon recently in the belly. She has been admitted in the hospital,” locals said.
“From past 8 days we are requesting the department to restore our water supply. And Thursday when we held a protest they went berserk and beat everyone to pulp,” Ghulam Mohuidin Dar, one of the injured in the police action said.
Repeated attempts to contact SHO Parvez Ahmad of Sherigari police station proved futile as the officer had switched of his phone.
SDPO Imtiyaz Ismail Parrey said that some of the protestors resorted to indiscriminate stone-pelting that resulted in the injury of a police constable who received 4 stitches in his head. “For over an hour these people made thousands of commuters hostage and we simply sought the help of lady contingent to disperse these protestors,” Parrey said
Eyewitnesses, however, said, “Only two police women were accompanying the police party.”
Refuting police claims locals said, “As soon as police arrived at the scene they tried to open the road but the protestors remained adamant on their demands.” Locals alleged that the policemen began to throw stones at the women that agitated the protestors. “They could not convince us to leave the spot after that they picked up stones and threw at us. This agitated the protesting ladies and a scuffle broke out between the protestors and the police,” locals told this reporter.
“They fired tear gas shells directly on women injuring many of us,” an injured lady said after she was discharged by the hospital. “They hit my head with bamboo and I fainted. I was later taken to hospital by the locals,” said she.
Eyewitnesses said that police also arrested the salesman Muhammad Omar of Nowgam from his shop in Alsafa Market.
Following the news of misbehaviour with the women protestors markets of Saraibala, Sarai payeen and Maharaj Bazaar witnessed shutdown against the police action. They demanded that the misbehaving SHO should be suspended immediately.