JAMMU, Jan 11: Drivers and operators of vehicles resorted to strong protest demonstration on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway at Ban Talab near Nagrota, after a driver of the load carrier was allegedly thrashed by Traffic Police men for denying entry (forced graft) to the ‘men in blue’ on the highway.
The level of ‘open corruption’ or ‘virtual extortion’ on the highway has reached such an alarming position, that some of the cops in ‘blue’, without any fear from the top brass, are operating unbridled, beating up drivers and vehicle operators just to mint money and share the ‘booty’ with others in the system. The incident at Ban Talab near Nagrota triggered massive protest by the drivers, cleaners and other transport operators after a load carrier driver Gafoor Khan was beaten up by an ASI and other cops of Traffic Police for denying them ‘Entry’ (illegal gratification).
The mini load-carrier No. JK14A/1650, loaded fresh vegetables, was on way to Katra Mata Vaishnodevi from Jammu. When, it reached at Ban Talab, Nagrota, the Traffic police party led by ASI Dara Singh stopped the vehicle and asked its driver to deposit “entry” (forced graft). The hapless driver, who had no sufficient money, refused to oblige the cops. The furious men in blue started showering abuses on him and also slapped him. When he objected to it, he was beaten up on the busy highway.
The hapless driver then came out on the highway, stopped his load carrier in the middle of the highway. The other drivers and vehicle operators also came out and started protest against Traffic Policemen. The SHO Nagrota reached the spot but the protesting vehicle operators refused to open the highway. They shouted slogans against the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Director General Police, IGP Traffic Muneer Ahmed Khan, DIG Traffic S A Watali and even the SP Traffic. They were demanding immediate action against the Traffic Police team deployed at Ban Talab. Later, SP Traffic Pawan Parihar reached the spot and assured action against the cops. For over two and half hours, the busy highway remained blocked and a long traffic jam was created. The traffic could be restored at around 12 noon.
IGP Traffic, Muneer Ahmed Khan when contacted said that ASI, Dara Singh of Traffic Police has been attached and inquiry ordered into the incident. He said the entire team of Traffic police has also been removed from the highway point. Another senior Traffic Police officer tried to down play the incident and claimed that driver tried to create scene there on just minor issue.