Friday, May 1, 2009

Seeking removal of CRPF, Khaigam boycotts


Khaigam, Apr 30: Villagers of Khaigam demanding for past several months removal of a local CRPF camp whose troopers murdered a carpenter in his home in March on Thursday boycotted the parliamentary polls, accusing the government of failing to remove the camp.
Of the total 488 votes, only one was cast when the polling ended at 4 pm. The villagers have been demanding the camp of 181 Battalion of CRPF should be removed from the area, as a government probe indicted the troopers for murder of the carpenter Ghulam Mohiuddin Malik.
“We wanted to vote, but we stayed away because the government didn’t respect our sentiments and demand. All we wanted is the removal of the camp from the area which has become a source of harassment for us. But when government can’t fulfill our basic and important demand why should we vote,” said the angry villagers.
The villagers had on Wednesday decided to hold anti-election and anti-government demonstrations on Thursday. But, they said, some “policemen in civvies” approached them on Wednesday evening, asking them not to hold any protests even if they wanted to boycott the polls. “The policemen asked us not to demonstrate. We were not frightened by their words, but we thought by boycotting polls we can show our resentment in a better way,” said a villager Abdul Rashid.
After massive protests, a government probe into the carpenter’s murder led to suspension of the assistant commandant of 181 Battalion and his two troopers. The assistant commandant told the inquiry officer that the accused troopers had fired at the carpenter without his permission.
“What are we getting in return of votes? We are being killed?” said the relatives of Malik. “We have nothing to do with voting. All we want is the killers of Mohi-ud-Din punished and the CRPF camp shifted from here,” they said.
The villagers have threatened mass migration from May 5 if the government failed to shift the camp.

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