Chitral village shuts down to protest arrests

CHITRAL, Nov 16: Attendance in schools of both public and private sectors and offices remained low and the shopkeepers pulled down shutters in Ayun village on Friday to protest against the arrest of the villagers who had resisted cutting of trees in the local forest. Situated on the confluence of the two Kalash valleys of Bumburate and Rumbur, the Ayun village gave a deserted look as the villagers had also kept their vehicles off the road while only few vehicles were seen heading to the valleys passing through it. The villagers had given a deadline of one week to the local administration for the release of the arrested leaders and withdrawal of criminal cases against them. But, the administration failed to release the arrested men forcing the villagers to come on the roads. The local police had arrested and sent behind the bars about two dozen leaders of the village two months ago who had lodged violent protest last year against the alleged illegal cutting of trees and had removed the forest checkpost from the village.–Dawn]]>

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