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Madaklasht residents say police siding with their opponents

Zulfiqar Ahmad 
ISLAMABAD: The residents of Madaklasht on Thursday accused the Drosh police of siding with a group of settlers despite the latter’s attack on the local community which left four people injured on Wednesday evening. 
Talking to ChitralToday over the phone, their representatives on condition of anonimity said Zaram Khan along with four of his accomplices were overpowered by the local people and later handed over to police along with weapons after he injured four people over a water dispute. 
They said the police knew it well that the men of Zaram Khan had also allegedly kidnapped community people which included women, children and elderly people when they were on their way to Madaklasht from Drosh on Wednesday. They were later released when the issue was brought in the notice of deputy commissioner lower Chitral
They alleged that the women, children and elderly people were taken to a nearby hilltop by the alleged kidnappers, adding phone calls were made to community people to release Zararm Khan and his men or their people would be thrown down from the hilltop. 
They said the people of Madaklasht who had been kidnapped went back to the Drosh police station and lodged a report of their kidnapping by the men of Zaram Khan. 
“Our people including women were badly beaten up by the men of Zaram Khan. They all including women, elderly and children were taken to a hilltop barefoot by the kidnappers,” they added. 
They said the settlers were not allowing to use water from a stream flowing from a pasture area claiming they had purchased the land.  
The locals said over 200 people from Madaklasht have staged a sit-in in the pasture area, asking the government to arrest their attackers. 
They alleged that the police led by SDPO Drosh  pressured the community people throughout the day on Thursday to leave the disputed area. 
“We told him [SDPO] we’re not going anywhere unless everyone from both sides are directed to clear the area. We have assembled some 200 people at the site and won’t go anywhere unless the higher ups take notice of the issue,” they warned.  
They said the people of the community had categorically conveyed to the SDPO to impose section 145 in the area in order to avoid any untoward incident in future, adding the police cannot force the community people to leave the area and let Zaram and his people stay there. 
When contacted, assistant commissioner Drosh Abdul Haq said he was waiting for a police report after which he would decide what could be done to resolve the standoff between the two parties. 
He said the disputed land where the clash took place was believed to be sold to both the parties by a local landlord, adding we will seek the settlement department’s report and resolve the issue in light of the land record and the police report which will be submitted to him within next 12 hours. 
The SDPO could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts at his number. 
When the SHO Drosh was contacted, he said the SDPO was in Madaklasht and his phone battery was dead as there was no electricity in the area. 
The SHO acknowledged that the situation in the area was tense.
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