Locals block Batote-Kishtwar national highway

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Hold protests over killing of retired Army officer

Bhadarwah, Nov 25: Angry locals blocked the Batote-Kishtwar National Highway at Thathri area Sunday over the death of a retired Army officer, demanding arrest of the accused, officials said.
Retired Army officer Mohd Hafiz (60) was killed and several others were injured in a clash between two groups at a polling booth in Doda district during the third phase of the Jammu and Kashmir panchayat elections on Saturday, police said.
“After post-mortem of the deceased, the villagers joined by locals at Thathri refused to take the body to his native village Joura for last rites. They kept the body on the highway demanding assurance from the district magistrate,” Thathri SDM Mohd Anwar Banday said.
The protesters sought the district administration’s intervention into the matter and assurance from the Doda deputy commissioner to immediately set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to nail down the culprits. They also demanded a government job for the kin of the deceased.
The SDM said he tried to pacify the protesters and assured them of arresting the culprits at the earliest but they are insisting on assurance from the DM itself. Meanwhile, hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on either side of the highway at Thathri town since 9 am.