SRINAGAR: A teenage boy attempted to immolate himself on Monday in protest against the demolition drive launched by Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) in the interiors of Dal and Nigeen lakes at Ashai Bagh and Saidakadal localities here.
A student of class 12, Manzoor Ahmad Darzi set himself on fire during a demonstration at Ashai Bagh, while the policemen deployed there acted as mere spectators.
The boy was saved by other protesters who doused the flames and rushed him to the JLNM hospital, Rainawari.
Later, the police and paramilitary forces personnel deployed at the spot resorted to cane charge and fired tear-smoke shells to disperse the demonstrators.
Many protesters, including women, got injured in the forces’ action. Two of the injured—Bilal Ahmad Wani and Bisma Rasool—were also shifted to the JLNM hospital for treatment.
The protesters were carrying banners with anti-government and anti-LAWDA slogans written on them.
The president of Ashai Bagh-Saidakadal Development Committee, Ghulam Mohammad Akhoon said they had not raised structures illegally and would not allow the authorities to demolish their homes.
After 2014 floods, the residents have reconstructed or repaired their damaged residential and commercial structures. The LAWDA, however, aims to demolish the structures that have been constructed illegally.
“We have been residing here for centuries. Every resident here has documents issued by the Revenue department. We will not allow any to carry out demolitions,” Akhoon Said.
“If the government wants to demolish our properties, why can’t they demolish the hotel buildings that are located in the same area? Do these luxury hotels belong to politicians? This is our property, and nobody has a right to demolish it,” another protester, Kifayat Hussain added.
The protests disrupted the traffic movement on the Hazratbal-Lal Chowk route.