Several policemen injured in clashes during anti-encroachment drive in Samba

JAMMU — Several policemen were injured in clashes with anti-social elements as authorities retrieved more than 20 acres of prime land in a major anti-encroachment drive in the Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, a senior police officer said on Tuesday.

Samba SSP Vinay Sharma said the joint drive by the police and the civil administration was launched near Balol Nullah in Bari Brahmana area on Monday evening to retrieve the encroached land and also to bust the hotspot of illegal drug trafficking.

Officials said at least 40 mud-houses belonging to the Gujjar community were demolished during the drive, which witnessed violent clashes between the alleged encroachers and law enforcement agencies.

“We have been getting information about the vicinity becoming a drug hotspot, and during investigation it came to light that the SIDCO land is under illegal encroachment. A strategy was chalked out and accordingly the police along with civil officials moved into the area,” the SSP told PTI.

He said the police party was attacked by stones and sharp-edged weapons by the anti-social elements, resulting in injuries to some personnel.

Despite resistance, the police moved in using teargas and baton charged to clear the area, the officer said, adding that a case was registered and further investigation is on to arrest those who attacked the police party.

He said the successful drive busted the drug hotspot, dealing a blow to the anti-national elements linked to narco-terrorism.

An industrialist welcomed the drive and said the land belonged to the State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) but was turned into a ‘drug hotspot’ over the years by the encroachers. — (PTI)