Violence at Kathua toll plaza over taxing local, six arrested, sec 144 imposed

JAMMU: At least six persons were arrested on Tuesday in connection with manhandling of a local youth allegedly by a toll plaza officials for refusing to pay the tax and subsequent destruction of the toll plaza by a mob at Lakhanpur in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Police here said that the Lakhanpur toll plaza, which became operational on July 21 at Kathua district, was destroyed by a mob of local people late on Monday night after a trouble erupted between toll plaza staff and locals when they were allegedly manhandled after refusing to pay the toll on the claim that being local, he is exempted from paying the tax.

As the news spread, a strong mob comprising local people from nearby areas reached there and demolished the toll plaza infrastructure. Police said that the mob damaged the toll collection counters, barriers, computers and even the CCTV cameras among other infrastructure.

The trouble continued till midnight till police brought the situation under control. “We have registered a case and arrested six persons of the Toll Plaza who manhandled the local youth for refusing to pay the toll,” S K Mishra, SSP Kathua here said.

He said that efforts are on to identify people in the mob and to find out whether they were toll staff or not. However, three people also suffered injuries in the clash and they were hospitalized at GMC Kathua.

Installation of Toll Plaza at Lakhanpur has triggered a controversy as locals objected to it criticising the government for burdening people of Jammu region through taxes. Meanwhile, an administrative official said that Section 144 has been imposed in the area as preventive measure. (AGENCIES)