Tension, Protests In Akhnoor As Cong Workers Open Firing

19 December 2014
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Tension gripped Akhnoor town late tonight after Congress workers opened firing in air when their vehicle, which was on way to a village to distribute cash and liquor among the villagers was intercepted by the BJP workers and police failed to trace the culprits leading to massive protest at Fawara Chowk of Akhnoor with people demanding immediate removal of local police officers of Akhnoor for trying to bail out the Congress workers. Nine BJP workers, who were scheduled to act as polling agents tomorrow, were missing after the firing. Tension continued when the reports last came in and more than 2000 people including BJP, National Conference, NPP and other parties' workers gathered at Fawara Chowk shouting slogans against the local police officers of Akhnoor and Congress candidate Sham Lal Sharma demanding immediate removal of SHO Kuldeep Kumar and tracing of nine BJP polling agents, who were missing. Official reports said the BJP workers intercepted a Congress vehicle at village Bhamaal, which was carrying cash and liquor for distribution among the voters. Finding themselves trapped, the Congress workers opened firing in air and fled away. The BJP leaders sounded police and gave them number of Scorpio but instead of chasing the vehicle, they engaged the BJP workers and detained them. By that time, the Scorpio driver and the Congress workers responsible for firing fled away from the spot. Instead, SHO Akhnoor Kuldeep Kumar, whom the protesters described as 'Congress agent' detained nine BJP workers, leading to tension. A large number of people from Akhnoor including candidates of BJP, NC, NPP and workers of all other parties gathered at Fawara Chowk in the town and staged a dharna there shouting slogans against police officers of Akhnoor and Congress candidate Sham Lal Sharma demanding removal of police officers, registration of case against the Congress candidate and trace of nine missing BJP polling agents. SDM Akhnoor Suresh Kumar and SP Rural Rajiv Pandey rushed to the spot and tried to persuade the people. The district and civil officers from Jammu were also on way to Akhnoor. Tension and dharna continued in Akhnoor till midnight tonight when the reports last came in as people blamed police for helping the accused involved in firing escape from the spot with cash and liquor and detaining BJP polling agents. Almost all non-Congress parties had united in the protest against Akhnoor police and Congress candidate, which were till midnight tonight. The people alleged that Congress workers, who opened firing and were distributing cash and liquor were also to flee by the police at the behest of the Congress candidate while the BJP polling agents were detained. The flying squad District Election authorities seized Rs 8 lakh cash belonging to BJP candidate in Kalakote area today. Reports said that on the basis an information that a vehicle with cash was moving towards a village to distribute cash among the people, a flying squad of the Election authorities led by Ist Class Magistrate Mohd Iqbal Khan intercepted Tavera vehicle near Kalakote town and during search recovered Rs 8 lakh from the possession of BJP activist Kuldip Raj Sharma, son of Mulakh Raj, resident of Sair village in Kalakote. The police and election authorities joint team seized cash and detained the BJP activist and the driver of the vehicle. SSP Rajouri, Dr Haseeb Mughal when contacted said that Rs 8 lakh cash has been seized from a BJP activist, who is said to be close to party candidate AG Kohli. He said that on questioning, Kuldip Raj disclosed that this money belonged to Mr Kohli and it was to be delivered to him. The SSP said that cognizance of the matter has been taken in this regard. Further investigation was going on.