Cop dies in AJK clashes over high power tariff

Violence flares as demonstrators take to the street

Our Correspondent May 12, 2024


A sub-inspector was martyred and 16 police officials including a station house officer (SHO) were injured after clashes broke out between protesters and police in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Saturday against “unjust” taxes levied on electricity bills.

The region witnessed a shutter-down and wheel-jam strike on the call of Awami Action Committee (AAC).

The AAC has been seeking provision of electricity as per hydropower generation cost in AJK, subsidised wheat flour and an end to “luxuries” of the elite.

In December 2023, the AAC came to an agreement with an official reconciliation committee, which was followed by a government notification issued on Feb 4. However, in April, the committee declared its intention to organize a long march on May 11, protesting the government's “failure” to fulfil its written commitments.

Several of the AAC members were arrested by police in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur divisions last week.

Later, the committee announced a shutter-down and wheel-jam strike on Friday, a day ahead of its planned long march towards Muzaffarabad.

On Saturday, AJK police blocked the arteries leading to Muzaffarabad, and resorted to baton charge and teargas shelling to disperse the protesters.

Several demonstrators coming from Islamgarh and its adjoining areas were injured after police tried to stop them.

Sub-Inspector Adnan Qureshi was martyred after sustaining a gunshot wound to his chest in Mirpur, Islamgarh whereas several others were injured. The wounded were shifted to the DHQ Hospital.

The funeral prayers for the martyred police official will be offered on Sunday (today) at 3pm at Mirpur Cricket Stadium.

It was reported that SHO Islamgarh police station was critically injured after a bullet pierced his chest during the clashes between the protestors and the police.

Clashes between the demonstrators and police continued in Kotli, Poonch and Muzaffarabad divisions. An official vehicle was set on fire in Rihan area.

As the crackdown against the protesters continued, several people were taken into custody from different parts of the region.

In Kotli, 12 police officials 28 protesters were injured.

PTI reaction

Expressing concern over the situation, the PTI termed the government action against the protesters its “failure”.

In a statement, the PTI spokesperson noted that the government which “lacked credibility, competence and public support” had become a “curse” for the people.

The party said that “use of extra-constitutional power” and “dictatorial governance” led to “tension and chaos” in the entire society.


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