Poles Uprooted In North Kashmir Village; Sarpanch Among 10 Held

SRINAGAR: Several people, including policemen, were injured as clashes broke out in the Rargam area of Sumbal in North Kashmir on Monday over the arrest of a sarpanch.

A large number of residents had staged angry demonstrations against the arrest of a local sarpanch who reportedly had threatened to uproot electric poles if the Power Development Department if power supply to his locality and adjoining areas was not restored.

Villagers in Targam and its neighbourhood today carried the threat out, and dumped the poles and power cables in sarpach Tahir Qadiri’s yard, reports said.

“For a month now, we have been living in darkness and PDD has cared a fig for us and never supplied electricity to our areas,” a local resident said.

After a complaint by the PDD, the police arrested the sarpanch and ten others, sparking off protests, with residents shouting slogans against the police and the power department.

The villagers said that they were being discriminated against by the government as their panchayat members did not belong to the ruling parties.

“They are forcing us to join the ruling party. This harassment will compel us to resign,” a panchayat member said.  

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