The Srinagar municipal corporation (SMC) has described the barbed wires laid by security forces across the city as “health hazard”and “defacement of the city”while sending a missive to the CRPF brass.
“Concertina wires have become a serious health hazard, causing injuries to people, and defacing various important areas in the heart of the city,”SMC health officer Dr Shafqat Khan said in his letter to the inspector general (IG) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) here on Thursday.
Even as the militancy has significantly decreased in the Valley, tonnes of barbed wire are either scattered on roadsides or stashed in nearly 800 to 1,200 bunkers in the city. These concertina wires with spikes and razor-edged mesh were installed around the bunkers during the peak of militancy to check grenade attacks and to abort fidayeen (suicide attacks) attacks by the militants on the security installations.
With street protests gaining momentum here in the wake of the 2008 Amarnath land row, the security forces purchased tonnes of concertina wires to stop protesters from marching on the city streets.
Every protest call by separatists is followed by setting up of concertina wires on streets across the city. However, many a times, the security forces roll these wires on the roadside only, which give a war-zone-like look to the Valley.
“It has been found that at many places the wires are causing obstruction and hindering free passage to pedestrian movement,”said Khan in his letter.
As the SMC is starting a major drive to decongest the city to provide a free passage to pedestrians, it has asked the security forces to remove unnecessary wires from the roads.
“In common interest of the general public and in view of the inconvenience and a public health concern, kindly issue immediate instructions to your field staff to remove the extra quantity of concertina wires from all prominent places of the city,”said the letter.
It also asked the security forces “to adopt a more humane and rational use of these wires”.
The SMC is drawing flak from the general public with concertina wires spread even in the city’s commercial hubs like Lal Chowk, Jehangeer Chowk and Maisuma.
There are several complaints with the SMC where people’s clothes got tangled in these barbed wires, particularly near bunkers set up on the road itself. “Many street dogs were also mauled and died later after they got trapped in them,”said a SMC official on the condition of anonymity.