Violent incident mars Back to Village programme at Ghatti

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, June 26: The Government’s Back to Village programme turned violent at Panchayat Four Lane, East in Kathua district today when a Sarpanch was attacked by a SPO on duty at Police Post Ghatti with a butt of a gun today.
The Sarpanch identified as Pritipal Singh is in serious condition as he received grievous injuries on his head, neck and back. He was rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Jammu by the people and police for treatment.
According to reports, Sarpanch, Pritipal Singh of Four Lane Panchayat East along with other officers and head of the team, Kamal Kishore, Chief Accounts Officer of Finance Department were making a round of the village Ghatti and while passing through Police Post Ghatti, the Sarpanch was attacked by the ex-serviceman turned SPO namely Amrik Singh of the same village with butt of the gun. He inflicted grievous injuries on Sarpanchs head, neck and back.
The Sarpanch was first shifted to Associated Hospital of Government Medical College Kathua where from the doctors referred him to GMCH , Jammu for specialized treatment.

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Reports said that the team was discussing the construction of road to the village which passed through the land of SPO and he (SPO) was against acquisition of his land for the construction of the road. However the team had decided to construct the road via his land.
This infuriated the SPO who attacked the Sarpanch in presence of villagers and entire team of Back to Village Programme.
SHO Kathua, Arvind Samyal said that the SPO has been detained and FIR against him will be lodged soon after the Investigating Officer (IO) who has been sent to GMC Jammu for recording the statement of the victim returns.
The villagers while expressing their serious concern and resentment against the attack demanded immediate retrenchment of SPO failing with they will block Jammu-Pathankot National Highway tomorrow.
The villagers alleged that the SPO was also harassing them and he has let lose a reign of terror in the area.
Raj Singh brother of Sarpanch said that SPO is a controversial person as he has also harassed other villagers earlier and was threatening them often. He said that the people of the village were discussing the construction of road with visiting team officials and the SPO attacked his brother suddenly. He demanded stern action against him.
He said that the condition of his brother is critical and the family is in touch with doctors to shift him to PGI Chandigarh for specialized treatment.