SSP, Samba shunted out over graft charges after protests

Jammu: The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Samba was on Tuesday shunted out over "serious" charges of corruption, a day after the district witnessed violent protests over alleged collusion of police officials and a gang of cattle lifters.

"SSP, Samba, Ragubir Singh Salathia has been removed from his post of district police chief following serious charges of corruption and he was attached by the state government," political advisor to Chief Minister Divender Rana said.

23 people including 16 police personnel were injured yesterday when protesters, including BJP and Shiv Sena activists, who blocked the J&K highway and torched two trucks clashed with the police. They were protesting against alleged involvement of police in cattle smuggling in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba district, 50 kms from here.

"SSP Police Control Room (PCR), J L Sharma has been posted as new district police chief Samba," Rana, who along with state minister for Industries and Commerce Surjeet Salathia held deliberation with agitating people last night, said.

A probe into the charges of corruption against SSP has been ordered by the state government.

The divisional administration also ordered probe into the alleged cattle smuggling racket.

Rana said that the situation was under control and "tension has subsided in the district after our assurances.

"People will not be allowed to take the law into their hands and anybody found doing so will also be dealt with sternly," he said.

The protests erupted after residents nabbed a member of a gang allegedly involved in cattle lifting in Kali Mandi area of Samba last night.

The man identified as Mukhtiyar Ahmed claimed that his gang was carrying out activities in connivance with police officials in the district.

The villagers, after holding Ahmed captive, blocked the highway, disrupting traffic, and demanded stern action against the SSP and the SHO.