At least 18 persons, including an assistant commissioner were injured, when a wooden footbridge over the Dal Lake in Srinagar collapsed during an inspection of the decaying structure.
Coincidentally, the bridge collapsed when Saida Kadal residents were protesting against the condition of thebridge and underdevelopment of the area. Those injured include 13 civilians and four policemen.
The assistant commissioner of the revenue department, Inam-ul-Haq, too had an unwanted dip in the waters of the Dal Lake. The bridge, an old decaying structure known as Janta Kadal, fell down due to overload as too many were on it.
Police and eyewitnesses said a group of people had blocked the road following the drowning of two siblings Asif Ali (6) and his sister Sakina (4) in the lake two days ago. The siblings, according to locals, were taken out alive from the lake but died on the way to hospital as they had to be rushed on foot owing to the lack of a proper road and bridge in the area.
"The water level in the lake is high. And the road, including the bridge, connecting us with the main road is in a poor state. Had it not been for the poor infrastructure, the kids would not have died," said Touseef Ahmad, a resident. "We were protesting for our basic civic rights. And as the officer was passing over the bridge along with dozens of people, it collapsed," he said. Srinagar deputy commissioner Baseer Khan confirmed the incident. "It was an old bridge and could not hold the extra weight," Khan said. "I had asked him (assistant commissioner) to look into the issues of the people after their protest," he said.