Army alerted, curfew continues in Rajouri

Army alerted, curfew continues in Rajouri

8 March 2012
The Daily Excelsior


Jammu: Authorities today kept Army in readiness as curfew continued for second consecutive day and police joined by para-military personnel staged flag marches in different parts of Rajouri town to maintain law and order and restore confidence among the people. Curfew was imposed in Rajouri last evening after Bhairav procession taken by minorities on Holi festival was attacked by the majority community people for second consecutive time forcing police and para-military to resort to teargassing and lathicharge to separate the two groups, SSP Rajouri Vijay Singh Samyal said. No untoward incident was reported today and there was no violation of curfew from any part of Rajouri town, he added. Curfew had been imposed within Municipal limits of Rajouri including Jawahar Nagar. Official sources said Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri GA Khwaja had requested the Army to remain in readiness to meet with any escalation in situation. 'While Army has been alerted, police and para-military personnel staged flag marches to defuse the situation in sensitive areas and restore confidence among the people’’, they added. Mr Samyal said the situation was fully under control today though it was tense in some areas. Curfew continued for second day and no violation was reported from anywhere, he added. The SSP said four FIRs have so far been registered in Rajouri police station for fuelling communal passions and attack on religious procession. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) national working president Praveen Togadia was booked under Section 153-A for his speech on May 4. Similarly, leaders of majority communities were booked under the same Section on May 5 for their speeches in a rally held to counter Togadia's remarks. Both sides have been charged with delivering hate speech. On March 6 and 7, religious Bhairav procession of minorities in Rajouri town were attacked by the majority community for which two separate FIRs have been registered against them at Rajouri police station. Sources said majority community attacked Bhairav procession first on March 6 evening and then again on March 7. Yesterday, the procession was stoned at City Chowk prompting police and para-military to intervene and resorted to teargas shells to disrupt the crowd trying to disrupt the procession. In the melee, people from both sides also subjected police and para-military to stone pelting leading to injuries to some police personnel. Civilians from both sides also sustained injuries. The religious procession was abandoned midway on both the days due to attack by the majority community. Police said over a dozen persons from both the communities have been detained for indulging in violence. Most of the arrests were preventive. However, cases have also been registered against some of them. According to police, Bhairav procession, which was taken every year by the minorities a day before Holi was stoned on March 6 first and had to be abandoned. It was taken again yesterday during Holi festival but was subjected to heavy stone pelting when it reached City Chowk. Some youth from the procession clashed with the other community in a bid to move ahead. However, police diverted the procession towards Naaban to disperse it peacefully. A number of processionists were injured in the clash. Police personnel also sustained injuries as both sides resorted to stone pelting on them when the cops fired teargas shells on the youths trying to disrupt religious procession of the minorities. Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Pawan Kotwal and IGP Jammu Dilbagh Singh flew-in to Rajouri this afternoon and reviewed situation with senior police officers. They also met prominent citizens from both the sides and sought their help in restoring peace and tranquility. The people assured the officials of their cooperation. Sources said a decision on relaxation in curfew would be taken tomorrow after a fresh review of the situation. Meanwhile, 5 member VHP delegation, which was on way to Rajouri from Jammu was stopped by police at Chowki-Choura.