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    Wednesday, 1 August 2018

    Several hurt as police quell growers’ rally, make arrests

    Talhar police later registered an FIR against 50 people, including leaders of various associations of growers, and arrested two of them, Mir Zeeshan Talpur and Jamal Nizamani.
    ASI Ali Ahmed Shah registered the FIR under sections 324, 506/2, 147, 148, 341 and 353 of the Pakistan Penal Code on behalf of the state.
    Dada Bagh Ali Talpur, Ghulam Rasool Talpur, Imtiaz Ahmed Talpur and other leaders held a press conference after the protest was quelled.
    They strongly condemned the police action and noted that it was for the first time that a protest by growers for water was quelled this way and participants were booked and arrested. They claimed that a strong contingent of police suddenly attacked the peaceful protesters and ruthlessly beat them up which was highly condemnable.
    Pir Fayyaz Shah Rashdi of the Sindh Abadgar Associa­tion also condemned the police action.
    The leaders demanded immediate release of the arrested protesters and quashment of the FIR.
    Speaking to this reporter by phone, some of the leaders said that the purpose of today’s demonstration was to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to the unfair distribution of water through Mir Wah (canal).
    They said that paddy/rice cultivation in the area had already been delayed by more than two months and growers of the canal’s tail-end areas in Badin district were giving up all hopes for farming in this season.
    They said small growers of the entire district fear a huge loss in terms of their income from farming due to water shortage.
    Abadgars of the tail-end areas of Rice Canal took out a protest rally in Mehar town on Tuesday against alleged theft of water by big and influential landowners.
    They held a demonstration in front of the office of the Rice Canal executive engineer and raised slogans for fair distribution of water.
    Their leaders, Mohib Thebo, Wali Moh­am­med Bhatti and others alleged that the unscrupulous landowners were stealing their share of water in connivance with the local irrigation employees from the head of the canal.
    This was ultimately curtailing the flow of water to other areas while the tail-end areas did not receive any.
    They claimed that an estimated 200 or so watercourses and modules were tampered with along the canal affecting over 3,000 small growers (abadgars) of Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah talukas.
    Abadgars belonging to Lakhi taluka of Shikarpur district held a protest demonstration and sit-in outside the office of the Guddu Barrage chief engineer on Tuesday.
    Their leaders, Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Yousuf, Moham­med Sualeh, Hizbullah and others spoke to them.
    They said that water meant for the growers of RD-24, RD-22 and other watercourses in the taluka was being taken away by big landowners, and alleged that the local irrigation officials were selling water to them.
    They said the paddy crop on more than 3,000 acres had been destroyed owing to unavailability of water to the abadgars, who largely belonged to the Shar community.
    The abadgars were left to starve, they said, adding that they would not be able to even clear the heavy loans obtained to cultivate their lands.
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    Item Reviewed: Several hurt as police quell growers’ rally, make arrests Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Asqamar