Naveed ul Haq
Budgam, May 13: Jammu and Kashmir police used a few tear-gas shells and mild lathi-charge to foil the protest of Kashmiri Pandits at Sheikhpora, Budgam, who were marching towards Srinagar International Airport. The protesters said that they were waiting for Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha till 11 am and as he didn’t turn up, they decided to march towards airport to lodge their protest against the killing of their colleague Rahul Bhat.
Bhat was killed by militants inside Tehsil office Chadoora, Budgam on Thursday. The killing evoked widespread condemnation.
Dozens of KPs assembled outside the migrant colony Sheikhpora, Budgam to register their protest. “We had informed the administration and police that LG should visit the spot and give us assurance about our protection and ensure culprits involved in the killing of Rahul Bhat won’t be spared. But LG didn’t arrive at the spot and we were left with no option other than to march towards Srinagar airport,” a protester said.
The protestors were shouting slogans, “DC Budgam hai, hai; Kaatil Ko Pesh Karo”. Witnesses said that as the protestors proceeded towards Srinagar airport, policemen present that police fired a few tear smoke shells to prevent the KP protestors from marching towards Srinagar International Airport. “The protesters were pushed back and barred from proceeding towards the Airport,” they said. Officials said “some miscreants” among the protestors pelted stones at the police forcing the cops to use mild-force to quell the protestors. “The situation is under control at present,” they said.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman in a statement said that at about 11 am, protesters who were protesting against the killing of an employee at Chadoora, had blocked main Sheikhpora Budgam road since yesterday afternoon suddenly started moving towards Airport road.
“Although the magistrate repeatedly requested & tried to pacify the protesters not to proceed towards the very busy and over-crowded Airport road, however, protesters while ignoring such persuasions and repeated requests from the administration, kept on moving towards the road while forcibly breaking all the physical barriers en-route and pushing the police and security forces who were peacefully trying to persuade/stop them from moving ahead,” the police spokesman said. “The protesters who were adamant to block the Airport road however did not pay any heed and instead managed to travel a distance of about one kilometre from Sheikhpora.”
The police spokesman said that given the topography of the area and huge rush at the Airport road there were inputs that militants may take advantage of the same and may attack the protesters in order to create communal clash/tension.
“Therefore in view of this, while sensing the security of the protesters who had resorted to violence and neglected the pacification requests by administration and to thwart evil designs of Anti National Elements (ANEs), police were constrained to finally hurl few teargas smokes to disperse them. However, the protesters again re-assembled at Sheikhpora road and sat on protest and blocked the main road. Later on all of them went back to their home,” the statement said.