Srinagar: After a local newspaper published a report about an anonymous doctor who was allegedly labeled as a “terrorist” for resisting to buy a lucky-draw coupon for a police fair, several people have come forward to spell out the ‘modus-operandi’ of police to sell the coupons.
A youth alleged that some days ago he was asked to buy the luck-draw ticket by the police at Kral Khud, Srinagar and was spared from challan.
“I was heading towards Habba Kadal on my motorcycle and was stopped at Kral Khud by the police. I wasn’t wearing a helmet and thought they will give a challan. But to my utter amazement, they gave me a Rs-40-police-public fair coupon and asked me to vacate. I readily accepted and fled from the site,” said Umaid Ayoub, a youth from uptown Srinagar.
Motorcyclists who were wearing the helmets were not stopped, Ayoub added. According to sections of M.V. Act 1988/ Rules of CMVR 1989/ JKMVR 1991, the police have to elicit a fine of Rs 50 to Rs 100 from a motorcyclist for driving without a crash helmet.
Another youth alleged that he was stopped by the police at Nowgam chowk when he was driving his motorcycle in the wrong direction.
“I was stopped by the police for driving in the wrong direction. I apologised and promised not to repeat it. But they threatened to give a challan. I pleaded with them to spare me. But they insisted and later on asked me to buy a coupon instead,” said the youth who didn’t wish to be named.
However, the youth resisted to buy the coupon either.
“I had no money to buy it. And why shall I buy it even if I had the money,” asked the youth.
A policeman told Narrator that the orders come from the top to sell as many coupons as possible by laying nakas at various places.
“We are bound to do it. But we are only catching those who are fit for the challan. We can’t coerce all,” said the policeman who wishes not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to media.
The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar, Imtiaz Ismail Parray, however, denied these allegations and said that no one is coerced to buy the coupons.
“If anyone has a genuine complaint in this issue, he can approach me and we will look into the matter. There is no question of coercing anyone to buy the tickets,” he told Narrator over phone.
When asked why then no rebuttal has been issued to a report published in Greater Kashmir about a doctor who was labelled as a “terrorist” for resisting to buy the coupon, the SSP replied that the “matter is being investigated”.
Pertinently, on 12 February, the State Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the SSP Srinagar asking him to explain as to why the anonymous doctor was put behind bars and labeled as “terrorist”, the local daily reported.
The mela is organised in both capitals of the state after every six months for the last 15 years. The ticket for the lucky-draw costs Rs 40 and participants can win prizes worth lakhs, including luxury cars.
When the police were unable to sell the tickets for the mela in the Kashmir Valley due to a popular uprising in 2016, they had focused the sale in the Jammu region.
A police official said that this year, the police-public mela will be held on 25 February in Jammu and in October in Srinagar.