PDP, CPI(M) condemns J-K admin for FIR against 8 people for flouting Covid norms during protest

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Jammu, Jun 26 (PTI) The People's Democratic Party (PDP) and CPI(M) condemned the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday for registration of an FIR against eight people for violating COVID-19 standard operating procedures, hours after they blocked the Bhaderwah-Doda highway demanding road connectivity to their villages.

Terming the action taken 'against the basic idea of justice in a democracy', the two parties demanded immediate withdrawal of the case.

'While the BJP is responsible for the murder of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir, the administration is now burying its very spirit by criminalising dissent and putting a curb on rightful protests,' senior PDP leader and former legislator Firdous Tak said in a statement here.

Tak, who is also the spokesperson of the party, condemned the 'arbitrary and unjustified' action and said, 'It has once again been proved beyond doubt that the rights of the people were being trampled upon to justify the failures of the present administration in mitigating the sufferings of the people.' The party demanded that the FIR be withdrawn immediately and the administration focuses on resolving the problems of the masses instead of 'using muscle power to curb their voices'.

In a separate statement, CPI(M) Regional Secretary, Jammu, Sham Prasad Kesar termed the registration of FIR a 'brazen violation' of the fundamental rights of people.

'To protest peacefully is a democratic right of any citizen and it does not warrant that he should be booked and sent to jail. Such incidents can create a sense of fear among the people instead of solving their grievances. This is a brazen misuse of power and authority and such incidents violate the fundamental rights of a citizen,' he said.

Seeking the intervention of Lt Governor Manoj Sinha in the matter, Kesar said the L-G must order the authorities concerned to look into the grievances of these people on priority and solve those immediately.

Dozens of villagers led by sarpanches had on Friday stopped the cavalcade of Farooq Khan, an advisor to Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, for nearly two hours during his visit to Bhaderwah town in Doda district to review developmental works.

Irked over the delay in the construction of a 1.5 km-long road to their villages, the residents of Kursari, Lamote and Kapra staged a dharna on the highway near Kulsari petrol pump and dispersed only after getting an assurance from the advisor that the issue would be resolved on priority.

However, protests broke out on Saturday again as the news of eight people being booked by police spread.

An FIR under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 51 Disaster Management Act Read with Section-3 of Epidemic Diseases Act was registered at the Bhaderwah Police Station on Friday following the protest. PTI TAS NSD NSD

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