Metro Track Cleared after Blind Protesters Manhandled and Loaded in Vans

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Wednesday, 13 January 2016 12:13

LAHORE: Officials of the city district administration along with police forced all visually impaired protesters to board wagons and cleared the metro bus track. The protesters shouted slogans against the government for not fulfilling their demands.

A large number of visually impaired persons had resumed their protest on Tuesday by blocking the metro bus track at Kalma Chowk at about 10am.

On Monday night, the protesters had left the site due to cold weather as well as after being assured of resolution of their issues by senior city district administration and Punjab government officials during repeated meetings, but they returned on Tuesday morning.

“We have shifted them to a hotel where they can stay as long as they want, as we cannot bear inconvenience they are causing to thousands of metro bus passengers,” said District Coordination Officer (DCO) retired Captain Mohammad Usman.

On Monday night also, he said, the administration had shifted them to a hotel from Kalma Chowk fearing they might get sick due to the cold. On Tuesday, “we allowed all protesters to go wherever they want. But they resumed the protest unnecessarily”, he added.

He said a high-level government committee was working on the protesters’ demands.

“The government is not serious about accepting our demands that are all genuine. On Monday night, the DCO had requested us to leave the place keeping in view the severe cold.

He also promised to get our issues resolved by Tuesday morning. But he didn’t. So we resumed our protest by halting the metro bus operations,” Hafiz Yasir, a protester, told media during the protest.

Earlier in the day, the protesters shouted slogans criticising the government for not accepting their longstanding demands. They said a couple of months ago, they had protested here and on The Mall, but the government did not fulfil their demands. The government neither confirmed daily-wage employees nor issued them salaries on time, they lamented.

When asked about travellers facing problems due to the protest, Yasir said they realised it, but there was no one to realise their problems.

“Last night, the dialogues ended with no results, as the government couldn’t assure us of anything in a practical way. We had asked the DCO and others to issue appointment letters to all jobless visually impaired persons, but they didn’t do it,” Yasir explained.

He said a majority of protesters held graduation and master degrees, but were moving door to door seeking jobs. Yasir warned the government to appoint the protesters and others immediately otherwise they would continue their protest and keep the bus operations halted.

On the other hand, suspension of metro bus operations for the second day disrupted mobility of a number of people and caused a loss to the exchequer.

“On Tuesday, the protesters halted our operations from time to time. First they blocked the road from 10am to 12pm. But, police got it cleared for a few hours. The protesters again blocked the track that continued till the evening,” Punjab Mass Transit Authority (PMTA) General Manager (Operations) Syed Uzair Shah told media.

He said he did not know if the protesters’ demands were genuine, as he was only concerned about thousands of people, who had no option but to travel by metro bus and were suffering.

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