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Protest turns violent, locals lathicharged near Bharadisain

CM orders magisterial probe, says guilty won’t be spared

The protesters demanding broadening of Nandprayag- Ghat road were lathicharged by the police on Monday when they tried to force their way past the barricades to the assembly building. High drama occurred on the day when more than 3,000 locals marched towards the assembly building. The police first tried to stop them at Junglechatti, a place located about seven kilometres from the assembly building but the agitated protesters outnumbered the police force and broke the barricades. In order to stop the vehicles of the protesters the police blocked the road with a fire tender. The 200 odd vehicles of the protestors blocked the road and the traffic on the important Karnprayag- Gairsain route remained affected for hours. The protesters including the women and children marched on foot to Diwalikhal where a large deployment of police force was posted. Here the police used water-cannon to disperse the agitators but when things went out of control, the police restored to lathi charge. Though the administration is denying any injuries on either side, eyewitness accounts suggest that more than 25 protestors and few police personnel were injured in the altercation. Taking serious cognisance of the incident, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said that it was unfortunate and has ordered a magisterial probe, stressing that the guilty will not be spared.

 It is worth mentioning here that for the demand of broadening the 19 kilometre long Nandprayag- Ghat section, the locals have been undertaking protest from the last 87 days. The CM Trivendra Singh Rawat had assured them that the road would be broadened. However it failed to pacify the protestors who wanted immediate start of work on the project.

Recently they had formed a 19-kilometre long human chain but the protest failed to draw the response from the authorities concerned.  Avtar Singh, a protester said that the demand of the people is very simple but despite many assurances from the leaders in the past nothing concrete has happened so far.

The former chief minister Harish Rawat has condemned the use of force on the protesters.

Another resident of the area Hari Krishan Bhatt said, “We want that the existing six metre road should be broadened to nine metres. Our request was accepted by the CM but even after his assurance nothing has happened. We are protesting peacefully for the last three months but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,’’ said Bhatt.

When contacted the district magistrate of Chamoli, Swati Bhadauria said that 300 protesters were arrested by police and shifted to a makeshift jail. She denied any injury to anyone during the protest.

Tuesday, 02 March 2021 | PNS | Bharadisain

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