Tension prevails as police detains migrants for violating Sec144

Policemen forcibly evicting Rassana villagers from Ram Leela Club, Koota on Wednesday.
Policemen forcibly evicting Rassana villagers from Ram Leela Club, Koota on Wednesday.

Avtar Bhat
KATHUA, Feb 28: Tension continued at Koota in tehsil Hiranagar of Kathua district where 15 families have migrated from Rassna village following the atrocities by the sleuths of Crime Branch (CB) investigating the murder and rape of a minor Gujjar girl whose body was found in Rassana forests on January 17.
Police swooped on the migrants early this morning who had taken refuge during late night hours in the premises of Ram Leela Club Koota and tried to deport them to their native village while some  others were detained in Police Station, Hiranagar for violating the Section 144 CrPC 144.
As the ex-Sarpanch of Rassana, Kant Kumar protested against the police action saying that they felt scared and threatened in the village due to unnecessary harassment by the police as well as they were receiving threats from some unscrupulous elements in the area they have migrated from the village for their safety and were on peaceful protest, the police took him into the custody.
This was followed by the arrest of another Sarpanch Bagmal Khajuria of an adjoining village, Satura. Protesting police action, all the villagers of Rassana rushed to Police Station, Hiranagar and registered their strong protest and offered for court arrest till the detained villagers and ex-sarpanches are released.

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Later DC Kathua, Rohit Khajuria and SSP Suleman Choudhary also visited Hiranagar and persuaded the protestors to return to their homes and hearths but they did not agree demanding the release of detained people.
Kant Kumar said that the police was adamant that the detained persons will be released on a personnel bond which the villagers did not accept and “later we were released in the evening without a surety bond’’.
However, the villagers did not return to their native village Rassana but are putting up in Ramleela Club Koota, he added.
Kumar said that villagers will not return till the police stops their unnecessary harassment and humiliation and the case is handed over to CBI for impartial probe.
When contacted SSP Kathua, Suleman Choudhary said that the villagers had violated the 144 CrPC and protested at Koota. The district administration swung into action and took them into custody.
The SSP said later they were released in the evening. He said that investigation by CBI is beyond the competence of district administration but it has conveyed the same to the concerned quarters.
President Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM), advocate Vijay Sharma which is spearheading the agitation said that early in the morning the Tehsildar Hiranagar and DySP Border and SHO Hiranagar reached the Ramleela Club and evicted the people form there and took them to Rassana village. Later police arrested two ex-sarpanches Kant Kumar of Rassna and Bagmal Khajuria of Satura and six women who had taken refuge in Ramleela Club.
As the message reached the village the people again marched to Hiranagar and protested. The Hiranagar Bar Association suspended work and later parent group of Kathua Bar also suspended the work in protest, he added.
He said to register their protest the villagers from Rassana and adjoining areas assembled at Hiranagar More and took out a procession up to Police Station Hiranagar from there to court arrest.
He said “the people had planned to launch protest tomorrow but in the evening we received a phone call from BJP Headquarters asking to defer tomorrow’s programme as some ministers and senior party leaders are visiting the area to defuse the situation. In view of the party directives we have deferred the protest tomorrow and in case the demand of CBI probe is accepted by the Government we will withdraw the agitation’’.
But the Ghagwal people have given a bandh call tomorrow in the area in support of Rassana agitation, he said.
However, the Zonal Police Headquarters Jammu have denied that the reports about the migration of some families of a particular community from Rassana village Hiranagar to Koota in District Kathua.
In a handout issued here, today it said the scrutiny of published news revealed that some families migrated and took refuge in Government Higher Secondary School Koota following the alleged atrocities by Crime Branch of Police and threat posed by some unscrupulous elements from Rassana Village.
The handout said that an incident took place in the recent past in which a minor girl was kidnapped and murdered. In this regard Police has registered a case FIR No 10/2018 in Police Station Hiranagar and later the case was transferred to Crime Branch by the Government on 27-02-2018. Some ladies instigated by rumour mongers with their vested interest, on the pretext of alleged insecurity to their families, went to Higher Secondary School, Koota by violating 144 CrPC already imposed in the area by DM Kathua and created unnecessary scene, challenging Crime Branch Investigation and spreading wrong message among general public that could breach communal harmony and may lead to major law and order problem, the handout added.
It said these people were directed by local administration and police to return to their homes, keeping in view the imposition of 144CrPC and were ensured that security of their area will be taken care of. Later they returned to their home on same day in the evening, it added.
Police further said that it was merely an attempt by some vested interest to communalize the situation and to put unnecessary pressure on investigating agency. The vested elements who are trying to foment the trouble in the area shall be strictly dealt under law, it added.