Curfew continues in Rajouri for 5th day with 2 hour relaxation

Curfew continues in Rajouri for 5th day with 2 hour relaxation

11 March 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Curfew continued in Rajouri town and outskirts for fifth consecutive day today even as authorities relaxed the restrictions for two hours in phases this evening while no delegation of the Ministers had reached the sensitive district to work out a solution to tension between two communities as directed by Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone in the Legislative Assembly yesterday following concern expressed over the situation by several members of the opposition parties. Despite efforts by the administration at various levels, the two communities refused to share a joint platform for a meeting to resolve their differences. They met the administration separately and listed their grievances but have not agreed so far for a common meeting. Official sources told the Excelsior that authorities relaxed curfew in entire old town of Rajouri from 4 pm to 6 pm. The relaxation period was further extended up to 6.30 pm in view of normal conditions, District Magistrate, Rajouri GA Khwaja said. He added that curfew in eastern part of Rajouri town including Gujjar Mandi, Jawahar Nagar and Kheora was relaxed from 6 pm to 8 pm. Yesterday, authorities had relaxed curfew from 6 pm to 8 pm only in eastern areas while no relaxation was given in old town of Rajouri. Sources said the authorities opted for separate times of curfew relaxation to assess the situation before relaxing curfew collectively in Municipal limits of Rajouri and outskirts, where it was clamped on March 7 following second time attack on minorities' religious Bhairav procession by the majority community in protest against the remarks of Vishwa Hindu Parishad national working president Praveen Togadia. The period of curfew during the day, which continued for fifth day today except for two hours to two and a half hours relaxation, passed off peacefully, SSP Rajouri Vijay Singh Samyal said, adding that no violation of curfew or untoward incident were reported from any part of curfew bound areas today. Police and para-military personnel remained deployed in strength in all sensitive areas of Rajouri town and outskirts patrolling the streets to restore confidence among the people. Sources said a total of 25 persons including some leaders have been arrested for instigating and fanning trouble in the town. Four of them have been bailed out as their arrest was preventive. Five arrests have been made in connection with the separate FIRs registered at police station for creating trouble and pelting stones on processions and police personnel. Sources said no delegation of Ministers had reached Rajouri till tonight despite a direction to the Government by the Speaker to send a Ministerial team to Rajouri to talk to people and defuse tension. They added that the Ministers wanted congenial conditions to be created for their visit including a joint meeting with both the communities. However, the two communities were not ready to meet collectively either the administration or the Ministers so far though several officers in the civil and police administration and political workers were trying to bring the two communities together. Saner elements within the both communities were also on the job to work out a ground for a common meeting with the administration but they hadn't succeeded so far. Sources said representatives of both communities have separately met civil and police administration and apprised them of their issues. Sources said even during two-hour curfew relaxation period, shops of minorities remained closed to protest attack on their religious Bhairav procession twice a day before Holi and during Holi festival by the majority community and 'inept handling' of situation by the administration. Curfew was clamped in Rajouri town on March 7 during Holi festival after second time attack on Bhairav procession of minorities by the majority community. The procession had also been attacked on March 6. The majority community was protesting against the remarks of Togadia. Sources said the administration would review a situation in the town at 10 am tomorrow before taking a decision on relaxation of curfew. Minorities have decided that their shops and business establishments would remain closed even if curfew was lifted till all accused responsible for attacks on Bhairav procession were arrested and put behind the bars.