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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Retired head master protesting for new bridge jumps into canal, booked for suicide bid

cities Updated: Oct 09, 2019 19:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

A retired head master of a secondary school, who had been sitting on a dharna since September 28 demanding the construction of a new bridge on the Upper Ganga Canal in Sardhana tehsil here, jumped into the canal on Tuesday evening when police and administrative officials appealed to him to end his protest.

According to a communication received from the office of senior superintendent of police Ajay Kumar Sahni, protester Sharanveer Singh, 63, is undergoing treatment at a hospital and has been booked for attempting suicide.

Circle officer of Sardhana, Jitendra Singh, said, “The case against (Sharanveer) Singh was registered under section 309 (attempt to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The section has not been decriminalised in Uttar Pradesh as yet.”

“He and two others protesting with him were also booked under section 151 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (arrest to prevent the commission of cognisable offences),” said the CO, adding that the FIR was lodged at the Sardhana police station on Tuesday late evening.

To recall, section 309 of the IPC was limited in effect by the Mental Health Care Bill, 2013. Rohit Kant, senior lawyer in Lucknow, said, “The passage of the bill brought in some changes. So now, in cases where the person concerned is suffering from some mental condition or extreme stress, there may be no penal action.”

Interestingly, the bridge that Singh was demanding to be replaced with a new one is over 150 years old, according to records available with the irrigation department. Locals said that despite a warning board having been placed near it months ago, the bridge continued to be used for traffic movement.

The Upper Ganga Canal, constructed in the period 1840-1854, bifurcates at Haridwar and passes through different districts of western UP. The bridge, which the retired head master wanted demolished, was constructed near village Naanu of Sardhana tehsil.

Singh, a resident of the nearby Saroorpur Khurd village, wanted it replaced with a new bridge to avoid a possible mishap, said locals.

The SSP office said that on Tuesday, sub-divisional magistrate of Sardhana Amit Bhartiya and circle officer Pankaj Singh met Singh, requesting him to end his dharna. They also assured him that the construction of the new bridge would start in December, this year.

Police said Singh warned the officials that he would end his life if the construction did not start at the promised time. He reportedly then requested them to come with him and see the poor condition of the bridge. He also told the officials that although a warning board had been placed, no initiatives were taken to divert traffic and vehicles continued to move on the bridge.

According to the SSP office, Singh then suddenly jumped into the canal, leaving the officials and the locals gathered there shocked. A few villagers jumped after him and rescued him.

First Published: Oct 09, 2019 16:43 IST

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