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Gulgulias in token protest

Deprived of basic amenities like water, power and shelter, Gulgulia community members returned photocopies of their voter slips on Thursday as a mark of protest against the apathetic attitude of the political leaders as well as the Dhanbad district administration.

As many as 25 protesters — all residents of Upper Tilha village in Pandeydih of Baghmara area — returned the slips to the district collectorate. There are nearly 100 Gulgulia voters in this village.

Since most of them are daily labourers, many could not go to the town personally. So, they handed over their voter slip photocopies to three persons — Ramu Gulgulia, Baleshwar Gulgulia and Arjun Gulgulia.

The trio reached the district collectorate sharp at 12.30pm and submitted the copies. They also threatened to return the original slip on the voting day if their demands of proper housing, electricity, drinking water and BPL cards were not met.

Baghmara falls under Giridih parliamentary seat and will go to polls on April 17.

“The administration treats us as mere votes. We wish to be treated as citizens who have access to basic amenities,” said rickshaw-puller Ramu.

Dhanbad SDO Abhishek Srivastava said boycotting elections was no solution. “We will appeal to all voters to exercise their franchise. We will try to address the Gulgulia demands soon,” he added.