1 killed, 50 hurt in Jammu clashes
5 February 2001
Jammu: One person was killed and over 50 others, including a dozen security men, were injured when groups protesting against Saturday's killing of six Sikhs in Srinagar clashed with police in curfew-bound Jammu on Monday. An indefinite curfew was clamped in Jammu city from 5 am on Monday in anticipation of large-scale violence during the bandh, called by Sikhs in protest against the Srinagar massacre. However, ignoring the curfew, hundreds of protesters gathered at Nagar, a Sikh-dominated locality in Jammu, on Monday morning. The cane-wielding protesters started marching towards the old city shouting anti-government and anti-Pakistan slogans. The trouble began when the security forces tried to stop the procession from moving towards the old city that houses Muslim-dominated localities. The security forces lobbed several teargas and smoke shells to disperse the crowd, but this provoked the protesters further, resulting in clashes with the police. The mob set two police vehicles on fire. They also torched some government offices and a dozen government vehicles. Police said four protesters were critically injured when police resorted to firing after lathicharge and bursting of teargas shells failed to prevent a mob from proceeding to Malik market in the Narwal area where a mosque is located. One of the injured died on way to the hospital while another critically injured protester was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. The incident further agitated the protesters who went on a rampage. Jammu Divisional Commissioner Anil Goswami has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident of firing by security forces on the protestors. There were prolonged clashes between the security forces and the protesters near the Nanak Nagar gurudwara. A number of teargas shells, lobbed at protesters, landed in the gurudwara. The administration deployed additional security forces in the city to strictly enforce the curfew restriction, while the Army staged a flag march to restore law and order. The curfew was also imposed on Udhampur town as a precautionary measure. The administration also held a series of meetings with the leaders of the Sikh community urging them to help maintain peace and harmony in the area. Meanwhile, the Hurriyat Conference on Monday demanded an inquiry either by Amnesty International or any other international human rights body into the killings of six Sikhs by militants. "We demand an impartial inquiry either by Amnesty International or any other international human rights body into the gruesome killing of six Sikhs to bring to the book the guilty," a Hurriyat Conference leader and its former chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani told reporters at Srinagar. Stating that Hurriyat has always condemned such incidents, Geelani appealed to the Sikhs not to migrate from the valley and assured the community with regard to their safety and security. Former chairman of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq also condemned the killings and said such incidents were aimed at driving a wedge between Muslims and Hindu minority of Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) also demanded an inquiry into the killings by an independent body.