Protest against garbage dumping turns violent, several injured

Residents protesting against garbage dumping in Wanibug area of Pulwama. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
Residents protesting against garbage dumping in Wanibug area of Pulwama. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, July 17 : At least four persons were injured after a protest against the garbage dumping turned violent at Wahibugh village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district today.
When the garbage trucks entered the village this morning the residents tried to stop them. They raised slogans against the Municipal Committee Pulwama and blocked the road. Soon the escorting police force swung into action and lathi-charged the protesters who responded by hurling stones on them.

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In response, the police fired pellets and tear smoke shells leaving nearly four protestors injured.  The injured were shifted to the District Hospital Pulwama for treatment.
Giving details of the incident an official of municipality said that the incident happened nearly 100-meters away from the dumping site. “People stopped the garbage truck and attacked it.  The employees inside the truck received injuries and the truck was also damaged, “ he said, adding that the accompanying police party swung into action and clashes ensued.
The residents said that the land which has been designated for dumping is cultivable and close to habitation. “The foul smell emanating from the garbage has put the entire area vulnerable to the diseases,” a protestor said.
Another resident accused local administration of destroying the pristine environs of the area. “We will fight a legal battle if the Government fails to stop ravaging our environment,” he said.
The residents said that garbage attracts stray dogs and birds that can be seen scavenging for food in the rubbish thereby posing a clear threat to the passerby.  In addition, they said, the stray cows which can be seen roaming around these places consume plastic and other harmful substances from these places which cause serious injuries to their intestines, stomach, and esophagus.
In 2011, State Government notified sprawling 100 kanals of land at South Kashmir’s Lethpora hamlet on Srinagar- Jammu national highway. However, the plan faced hurdles after a nearby police camp objected the move citing health issues. The district administration woke up to the issue by identifying a temporary place to dump the waste.
An official at the Municipal Committee Pulwama said that they were looking for alternative arrangements. “It is a temporary arrangement and we along with local administration are looking for alternative land.  Until then, we have to dump it there, “ he said.