Sadhus protest at Canal road, block traffic

19 June 2009
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Hundreds of Amarnath bound Sadhus today staged a demonstration at Canal road in front of Irrigation Complex to protest against the thrashing of their colleague by a constable inside the Girls Higher Secondary School, Canal this afternoon. The agitating Sadhus posing nude squatted on the road and paralysed the movement of vehicular traffic for over three hours. Shouting slogans against the administration and State Police, the irate Sadhus demanded immediate action against the erring cop. They also installed barricades on the road and burnt the tyre tubes to disrupt the movement of vehicular traffic and did not even allow two wheelers to pass. The tempers ran so high that a handicapped Sadhu crawled 30 feet on road and laid in front of a Maruti which tried to cross the barricade. Despite the repeated pleas by the civil and police officers the agitating Sadhus refused to lift the road blockade and reiterated their single point demand that the action be taken against the cop. Sensing the trouble most of the shopkeepers on Canal road in front of Irrigation Complex downed the shutters of their shops. The traffic to Akhnoor and Talab Tillo, Bohri was diverted via Bakshi Nagar by the authorities. However the blockade was later lifted by the Sadhus after the SP City North, Randeep Kumar issued the onspot suspension order against the Selection Grade Constable, Gopal Sharma and handed over one copy of the same to the agitating Sadhu who was thrashed by the cop. This pacified protesting Sadhus who later dispersed peacefully. The trouble started during the registration of Sadhus inside the Government Girls Higher Secondary School Canal Road after a Sadhu was thrashed by a cop this afternoon for beating another Sadhu. This agitated the Sadhus who came to the canal road and staged a demonstration. The news spread like a wild fire and the Sadhus putting up in Chander Bagha Community Hall at Mohinder Nagar also joined the demonstration. The agitating Sadhus also alleged that there were no proper arrangements for their boarding and lodging and the food served to them was of poor quality. They also alleged that authorities were deliberately delaying their registration and permission to leave for darshan of holy cave on the pretext of bad weather and slippery track while thousands of yatris are performing darshan at holy cave daily. Meanwhile, the second batch of 1860, yatris left the Base Camp, Bhagwati Nagar for holy Cave via Baltal this morning under tight security arrangements in a cavalcade of 54 vehicles. All these yatris had crossed the Jawahar Tunnel by 5-15 pm this evening. It may be recalled that yatra was suspended for three consecutive days due to inclement weather in Kashmir Valley after the first batch had left the Jammu Base Camp on June 15. However unabated rush continues with hundreds of yatris reaching here today from other parts of the country.