DSP among several hurt, MLC motorcade attacked

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Aug 2: At least three dozen people including Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Jammu and Kashmir police were injured and National Panthers Party (NPP) Member Legislative Council (MLC) had close shave as the farmers of several villages of Handwara fought pitched battles with those of Kupwara over sharing of irrigation water in the North Kashmir’s Kupwara district for last two days.
The farmers of dozens of villages of Handwara constituency of National Conference leader and Cabinet Minister, Chowdhary Ramzan and those of dozens of villages of Kupwara constituency of NC leader and Cabinet Minister Mir Saifullah fought pitched battles for last two days in Kupwara district over the sharing over irrigational water of snow fed Kahmil stream in Kupwara district.
Over 2000 farmers of several villages Handwara Assembly constituency including those of Ramhal, Vilgam, Dahama, Punzoo, Tarathpora and Magam and around 3000 farmers of several villages Kupwara Assembly constituency including those of Kralpora, Trehgam, Shumnag, Batargam, Gushi, Nagri and Hatmulla clashed with each other at Ridi, Chowkibal in Kupwara district yesterday during which over two dozen farmers and DSP of J&K police, Sajjad Khaliq were injured.
Eyewitnesses said that the famers of Handwara constituency were trying to divert the water towards Handwara villages and those of Kupwara district towards the Kupwara villages after gathering at Redi where the Kahmil streams bifurcates. As the discharge of the stream was low, the farmers of two constituencies wanted lion’s share of the water for their paddy fields. The stream irrigates thousands of acres of paddy land in two constituencies.
Eyewitnesses said that as the two groups of farmers were trying to divert the water towards their areas, clashes broke out. “Kupwara police immediately rushed to the spot and fired tear smoke shells and resorted to aerial firing to disperse clashing farmers”, witnesses said.
The farmers again fought pitched battles at Shuloora bridge today that connects village Vilgam in Handwara constituency with village Trehgam in Kupwara constituency. The clashes continued throughout the day during which several farmers were injured and police resorted to baton charging, fired tear smoke shells and fired in air to disperse the farmers. Reports said that at least one dozen farmers were injured in clashes.
Sources said that the farmers also dismantled a portion of the steel bridge. “The MLC Kupwara, Rafiq Ahmad Shah who had gone to spot as a peace broker between warring farmers had a close shave. His two vehicles were broken in the stone pelting and he had to flee from the area to save self”, sources added.
Deputy Commissioner, Itrat Hussain told Excelsior that a water sharing agreement was reached at a few days ago but the farmers were not complying with it. “We called a meeting of the farmers of Handwara and Kupwara villages today and both the sides have agreed to the water sharing agreement. Now we have to implement it on the ground”, he added.
Sources said that the agreement is not being implemented for past several days as the Handwara farmers have the backing of Cabinet Minister, Choudhary Ramzan and Kupwara farmers have the backing of another Cabinet Minister, Mir Saifullah.
However, Choudhary  Ramzan told Excelsior that due to the heavy rains the issue has been resolved now as the farmers have got enough water for their paddy fields.

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