At least dozen villagers and four policemen were injured after clashes erupted amid shutdown in Sogam area of Chadoora town in Budgam district against the construction of a water supply scheme over Doodh Ganga stream. Eyewitnesses told KNS that hundreds of people gathered at the construction site to the workers from carrying out their work. The administration had deployed contingents of police to provide security to the workers. However, the agitating villagers allegedly pelted stones toward the workers and the police, which triggered clashes with police. Residents said that scores of people were injured as forces resorted to teargas shelling and baton charging the protesters. The locals in return also resorted to heavy stone pelting. Protests have gripped Chrar-e-Sharief and Chadoora following the villagers’ opposition to construct water supply scheme as they fear the scheme, constructed by Economic Reconstruction Agency, will dry up water supply schemes which are already built on Doodh Ganga stream. However, the locals alleged that police beat them to pulp and ransacked the windows of their homes. Locals told KNS that the village is already facing water scarcity, but despite that government is building water supply scheme on Doodh Ganga which will impact the streams water capacity. “We all are educated persons and government can’t make us fool by giving such kind of nonsense reasons. We won’t allow the state administration to develop as it will affect our water supply and the government is constructing the project against the public will,” Dr Gazanfar Ali, a social activist of Chadoora, told KNS. Chief Engineer, Public Health Engineering, GM Bhat told KNS that the people won’t face any water scarcity due to the water supply scheme. “Government will never deprive people from safe drinking water,” Bhat said. He said that if there will be demand of more water in future the government is ready to redress the people’s demand at that time. “Government will give priority to the people residing from New Bridge to Chadoora,” Bhat said. Senior Superintendent of Police Budgam Fayaz Ahmad Lone told KNS that the at least four policemen were injured after the villagers pelted them with stones during the clashes. “Police was providing security to the workers of the water supply scheme. But villagers pelted the police and the workers with stones in which four of our men were injured. We have no knowledge of whether any civilian was injured,” SP said.
2015 Kashmir Despatch