Complete bandh against killings
15 May 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: In a rare show of unity in favour of the armed forces, who lost their family members in yesterday’s fidayeen attack at Kaluchak, the people across Jammu province today voluntarily observed a complete bandh. Throughout the region, the bandh passed off peacefully. For the first time, the bandh was observed in all important towns of Jammu including Jammu, Akhnoor, Samba, RS Pura, Vijaypur, Bari Barahamana, Nagrota, Hiranagar, Kathua, Udhampur, Ramnagar, Reasi, Doda, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Batote, Ramban, Banihal, Rajouri and Poonch, official reports reaching here said. Today’s bandh was different from the routine strikes, called by the political parties and social organisations. On the City roads in Jammu, no activist of any political or social organisation were seen as the shopkeepers voluntarily downed their shutters to express sympathies with the army personnel, who lost their innocent wives, children and other family members in the fidayeen attack. All kind of commercial transport also remained off the roads. Traffic was closed in the City and outskirts even as there were no bandh supporters burning tyres to block roads. ''Today’s bandh was a different one from the others. There were no youths pelting stones on matadors and three-wheelers or blocking roads with stones and tyres. It was a people’s bandh, who observed it as a mark of respect towards the Defence forces, deployed on the borders and the internal areas to take on the terrorists'', observed a veteran citizen. ''I had seen many bandhs in my life. But I have never seen such an unprecedented bandh without any effort made by any organisation'', he said. Traffic on Jammu-Pathankote national highway remained off. Similarly, commercial transport didn’t ply on Jammu- Srinagar, Jammu-Poonch and Jammu-Akhnoor roads. Most of the vehicles remained confined to the General Bus Stand. Police had made elaborate security arrangements in Jammu especially on Satwari-Bari Barahamana road, which remained busy with the VVIP movement throughout the day today. Defence Minister George Fernandes, Minister of State for Home I D Swami and AICC (I) president Sonia Gandhi visited Kaluchak and Military Hospital, Satwari amidst tight security arrangements. A handout issued by Bathindi-Sunjwan Shopkeepers association said that shops remained closed in Bathindi and Sunjwan today in protest against the fidayeen attack at Kaluchak. In Udhampur, all major towns observed a complete bandh with all shops and business establishments remaining closed. Udhampur, Ramnagar and Reasi towns wore a deserted look. In Doda, bandh was near total in Doda, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Thathri, Ramban, Chanderkot and Banihal. Kathua and Hiranagar towns of Kathua district also observed a complete bandh. Traffic on the highway as well as internal roads of Kathua remained suspended. Twin border towns of Rajouri and Poonch also observed a bandh. Meanwhile, a condolence meeting was organised by Vishwa Hindu Parishad at Geeta Bhawan to mourn the death of those killed in the fidayeen attack at Kaluchak. Meeting was also attended by the representatives of Bajrang Dal, Gou Raksha Samiti, Durga Vahini, Matri Shakti and other social and religious organizations. The meeting resolved to hold protest demonstrations against terrorism and hold condolence meetings at various places in Jammu City and other district and tehsil head quarters.