People protest, lock ZEO office; block road for 4 hrs

Excelsior Correspondent
MENDHAR, Jan 16: People from Balnoi and Mankote area today locked the office of Zonal Education Officer (ZEO), Mankote and held strong protest demonstration and dharna on the road disrupting movement of traffic for about four hours today.
Agitated over the utter negligence and non-seriousness on the part of ZEO and other officers to ensure functioning of two Government schools lying closed for the last one month in the area, the people led by two Sarpanchs and several Panchs, hailing from Naad Balnoi, Nabal Tara and adjoining areas moved to the office of ZEO Mankote and held strong protest demonstration and dharna. They locked the office and started protest outside. The two teachers, Mohd Yousuf of Middle School Mankote and Abdul Karim of GMS Adaki Sajla, Mankote, presently attached to the ZEO office got trapped inside for the hours together. Zonal Officer slipped away after seeing protesters at the office. The locked teachers were later rescued by president of Teachers Association Mushtaq Ahmed Khan at around 12 noon.
The people after locking office, raised barricades on the main road at around 10.15 am and stopped the movement of traffic. They shouted slogans against ZEO, DyCEO, CEO Poonch and Director School Education, Jammu Dev Lata. The police party led by an SI moved to the site but people refused to lift dharna. The people alleged that these two schools of Govt MS Nad Balnoi with 100 plus students and another GPS, Nabal Tara with around 30 students are closed for the last more than one month. ZEO was requested to take note of it twice and even people held protests earlier also but nothing happened. The public has been forced to lock this office and block road. There seems to be no administration and School Education authorities are sleeping. They demanded detachment of all the teachers and action against absentee teachers.
Later, Dy CEO and Tehsildar reached the spot and assured the people to address the issue. The public then lifted dharna at round 2 pm. They gave time up to Friday to the Administration failing which they will intensify the agitation.


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