Massive Protests Across Jammu Against Kishtwar Violence

Massive Protests Across Jammu Against Kishtwar Violence

9 August 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Avtar Bhat

Jammu: The Kishtwar violence today evoked wide spread protests all over the Jammu with people taking to streets and holding protest demonstrations and road blockades all over the region. Showing its serious concern over Kishtwar violence, the BJP gave a call for bandh in Jammu region tomorrow, which was endorsed by various other organizations also. Soon after the news of Kishtwar episode spread, the people came to streets in the city and the Old city observed a complete shut down in protest against the violence and attack on minorities in Kishtwar. The BJP activists led by Party president, Jugal Kishore Sharma took out a protest march in the city here and sat on dharna in Kachhi Chawni to register their protest against the communal violence in Kishtwar. BJP, while giving the Jammu region bandh call for tomorrow said that it has received full support from Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Bar Association, Beopar Mandal, transporters, social and religious organizations. The protestors shouting slogans against the Coalition Government resorted to road blockade disrupting movement of vehicular traffic for about two hours on busy city roads. They held the coalition responsible for today’s violence and said that had the administration taken pre-emptive measures after the BJP in advance had sounded it that some vested elements were hell bent in disturbing peace in the erstwhile Doda district, the situation could have been saved from taking a critical turn. Jugal Kishore Sharma, while making fervent appeal to people for tomorrow’s Jammu bandh successful against the today’s incidents of communal violence in Kishtwar and failure of Government to ensure safety of minorities in the district, said that once again NC-Congress coalition has given free hand to the members of majority community to harass, terrorize, kill and damage properties of minorities in the Kishtwar district. The senior BJP leaders including Legislative Party leader Ashok Khajuria, National Executive Member, Dr Nirmal Singh, National Executive Member and chief spokesperson of the State, Dr Jitendra Singh, Ramesh Arora, Kavinder Gupta, Bali Bhagat and others participated in the protest. Addressing the protestors Mr Khajuria said that people should get united to send a clear signal to the State Government that it should not take the minorities in the State for granted. The activists of Shiv Sena, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Jammu West Assembly Peace Movement and Ram Sena also resorted to protests and road blockade in the city. Shouting slogans against the failure of Government to give security to minorities in Kishtwar the protestors also jostled with the police at various places. These all organizations endorsed tomorrow’s bandh call. Shiv Sena and Dogra Front led by Ashok Gupta took out a procession and held demonstration against the violence in Kishtwar. Mr Gupta also appealed the people of the region to observe a total bandh tomorrow. Over 200 protestors blocked road at Main Stop Janipur to night by burning tyre tubes on the road. They raised slogans against the Government and held it responsible for Kishtwar violence. Reports coming from other district and tehsil headquarters said that BJP activists resorted to massive demonstration at Kathua and blocked National Highway at Kali Jani for two hours today in protest against the Kishtwar incidents. There was a huge jam of traffic on the Highway. The people also resorted to large scale protests in Samba and Vijaypur and blocked National Highway. The shopkeepers also downed the shutters of their business establishments in protest against the Kishtwar violence in which the minority community members were targeted by the majority community members. At Vijaypur the demonstration was led by senior BJP leader Chander Parkash Ganga and there was a huge traffic jam for miles tighter on the National Highway as Party activists resorted to road blockade. The protestors also endorsed support to tomorrow’s bandh. BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal activists also resorted to protests in Rajouri and blocked the road for two hours in protest against the Kishtwar violence. However they lifted the road blockade later to allow the Buda Amarnath Yatris to pass. BJP activists and workers of various social, trade and non political organizations held a massive demonstration at Udhampur town and blocked the National Highway. The protestors shouting slogans against the Government and hooligans demanded security for minorities in erstwhile Doda district. The BJP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and VHP activists held a massive protest demonstration at Akhnoor and resorted to road blockade hitting the movement of vehicular traffic on Jammu-Poonch Highway for hours together. They also endorsed tomorrow’s bandh call. Another massive demonstration was held jointly by BJP, ABVP, Shiv Sena, BD, VHP and Reasi Sangarsh Samiti activists at Reasi today to protest against the Kishtwar violence and demanded protection to minorities there. The protestors while endorsing the BJP’s Jammu region bandh call for tomorrow said that dawn to dusk bandh will also be observed in Reasi district tomorrow to protest against the Kishtwar attacks. The minority community members observed a total bandh in Bhaderwah town today in protest against the Kishtwar violence, held a strong demonstration and resorted to road blockade at Laxmi Narayan temple in the town. The BJP also protested and walked out from all Party meet organized by the Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand to seek the cooperation of all parties in containing situation and preventing further blood shed. Meanwhile, to seek the cooperation of all parties in maintaining peace and communal amity the Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand convened an all party meeting here this evening. Mr Chand appealed people to maintain peace and sought cooperation of all parties, traders groups and social organizations in this regard. He also appealed the leaders of political parties not to politicize the issue. He said such incidents should be condemned at all fronts. He also requested the gathering that unified efforts should be made by all political parties and civil society to maintain peace. Mr Chand said that the priority should be to ensure that the situation is brought under control and also assured that after ascertaining the facts adequate relief will be provided to the affected. The Government ordered a high level inquiry to ascertain the facts about violence in Kishtwar. Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Mr Shantmanu has been asked to complete the inquiry in a time bound manner. The State Government has also announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lac in favour of deceased Arvind Kumar. Besides Deputy CM, the meting was attended by Minister of Housing and Horticulture, Raman Bhalla, Minister of PHE, Irrigation and FC, Sham Lal, NC provincial president, Devender Rana, MLA Jammu West, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, Jammu East, Ashok Khajuria, MLA Nagrota, Jugal Kishore Sharma, various members of civil society and civil and police officers. However the BJP leaders and Shiv Sena president, Ashok Gupta walked out from the meeting by making strong arguments with the Government representatives. They told the Deputy CM that what sort of cooperation Government was expecting from them when it failed to act before hand in maintaining the law and order in Kishtwar district despite the fact that BJP had informed it before hand that a conspiracy was being hatched to disturb the peace in the erstwhile Doda district after recently some posters were pasted on walls in various areas. They asked why Government failed to act and why the action was not taken against hooligans and why deployment of force was delayed upto 5 pm when it had become a free for all affair in Kishtwar and adjoining areas? The BJP leaders demanded action against MoS Home, Sajjad Kitchloo who was in the town for the day. The Party leaders who protested and walked out of the meeting included Party president Jugal Kishore Sharma, Ashok Khajuria, MLA senior leaders Dr Nirmal Singh, Dr Jitendra Singh, Bali Bhagat, Kavinder Gupta, Yudhvir Sethi and BJYM chief Ravinder Raina. Panthers Student Union Udhampur district held a massive demonstration at Udhampur and torched the effigy of the Government in protest against the Kishtwar violence. The protestors led by MLA, Balwant Singh Mankotia demanded resignation of coalition Government. ABVP, while registering its strong protest against the violence also endorsed tomorrow’s bandh call. Meanwhile, various political organizations have strongly condemned the Kishtwar violence where majority community members attacked the business establishments of minorities after being provoked by some anti social and anti national elements. The NPP, while condemning the violence has endorsed tomorrow’s Jammu region bandh call. The NPP in a meeting appealed the people to support tomorrow’s bandh for dismissal of Omar Abdullah led coalition who is responsible for Kishtwar violence. It also demanded that the culprits be brought to book. VHP which held a meeting here, today under the leadership of its State president, Dr Rama Kant Dubey while also announcing the bandh call for tomorrow appealed the people to observe a peaceful bandh to defeat the designs of those who want to disturb the peace in Jammu region also. Terming the Kishtwar violence a pre-planned conspiracy, the VHP leaders accused the State as well as Central Governments of their failure in containing the terrorism and the elements who are hell bent to disturb peace in the State. Dr Dubey said that it is high time for the Government of India to act against the forces inimical to peace in the State and their mentor Pakistan. PK president, Ashwani Chrungoo, while condemning the violence in Kishtwar also endorsed the bandh call. Dr Dubey demanded sacking of MoS Home, Sajjad Kitchloo and dismissal of State Government by imposing Governor’s rule. He also demanded compensation for the losses damage and arrest of the culprits. Chamber of Commerce while expressing serious concern over the Kishtwar situation where one person lost his life and a number of shops of a particular community were looted and then put on fire by the miscreants has called for Jammu bandh tomorrow. The Chamber which held an emergency meeting here today under the chairmanship of its president, Y V Sharma has appealed the people of Jammu and business community in particular to observe a complete bandh tomorrow to express solidarity with people who have suffered at the hands of communal forces at Kishtwar today. BSP has also strongly condemned the violence in Kishtwar and termed today’s incidents a pre planed conspiracy. The VHP State president Tulsi Dass Langeh who also took up the issue with Divisional Commissioner Jammu accused the administration of its total failure in providing security and safeguard the lives and properties of minorities in Kishtwar township. He also termed it a serious lapse on the part of the State administration and said the youth killed in the violence was the BSP activist. Mr Langeh said BSP will fully support tomorrow’s bandh and will be a part of the movement launched by the people of Jammu region against the forces inimical to the peace and prosperity of the region. Former Union Minster and MLA Jammu West, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta has also expressed his grave concern over the loss of property and sufferings to the people because of communal violence in the sensitive areas of the Kishtwar, resulting tension in the entire belt. In a statement issued here, today he said it was highly intriguing that large scale violence and loot and arson have taken place when there were already reports about such like trouble in the area and more so, the place represented by the Minister incharge Home and he happened to be there when all this painful situation erupted. JKDF president, Anil Gupta while condemning the Kishtwar violence has also appealed people to make tomorrow’s bandh a success. He said such incidents will further deteriorate the already tense situation in the hilly region. He accused the Omar Abdullah Government of its failure in containing the situation. Peoples Democratic party (PDP) while shifting blame on ruling NC for violence in Kishtwar expressed surprise that looting, arson and violence continued for over 10 hours in the town and adjoining areas but Minister of State for Home, Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo was himself sitting in the town and watching every thing as a mute spectator. In a statement here today Ved Mahajan former MLC and senior leader PDP said that it was historical fact that NC always propagate divide and rule policy and today’s incident in Kishtwar was result of such divisive policy of NC, he added. KP Sabha chief K K Khosa while strongly condemning the Kishtwar violence said that it was due to weak-kneed policies of the Government that has emboldened the anti social elements and separatists to resort to violence and make the peace loving people their target. He said that till retaliatory action is not taken against Pakistan and enemy is crushed with iron hands, the situation will not improve. The India should act strongly against Pakistan and separatists, he added. Hindu Jagran Manch president Ram Paul Sharma and its general secretary, Dr Vimal Gupta have also strongly condemned the Kishtwar violence and endorsed tomorrow’s Jammu region Bandh call given by BJP and VHP. They demanded that the people responsible for today’s violence be arrested and dealt strongly under law. Ram Sena leader Rajiv Mahajan while condemning the Kisthwar violence has also endorsed the bandh call. The bandh call was also endorsed by Sunil Dimple president Jammu West Assembly Movement. MLA Inderwal G M Saroori, while expressing his sorrow over the Kishtwar violence has appealed the members of both majority and minority communities to maintain the peace and traditional brotherhood. Traders Federation Ware House has also condemned the violence in Kishtwar. BJP National Executive Member Dr Nirmal Singh while condemning the attack on minorities at Kishtwar today termed a part of big conspiracy in which Pakistan, militants, separatists and NC as well as Congress were involved. This is a sinister design to polarize the situation in erstwhile Doda district during the coming Assembly elections, he added. BJP Muslim Morcha president Mushtaq Noorabadi while expressing his shock over Kishtwar violence said this is not the work of Muslims as no Muslim after offering prayers will resort to violence as Islam teaches peace, love and brotherhood. He said these people who resorted to violence are playing in the hands of some vested elements who want to disturb peace in the state so that turmoil will continue. Sangram Sena R L Raina has also extended full support to Jammu bandh call tomorrow. SDP provincial president, Deepu Singh Ranotra and general secretary, Ajay Kumar have expressed concern over Kishtwar violence and asked people to observe complete bandh tomorrow. Ariya Pratinidhi Sabha J&K has also condemned the Kishtwar violence. Schools, colleges closed The Government has ordered closure of all educational institutions in Jammu region tomorrow in view of Jammu bandh call given by BJP and other organizations in protest against today’s Kishtwar violence. The decision to close the educational institutions including Government and private was taken by the Divisional administration here, today to avert any untoward incident during the bandh call tomorrow. An official handout issued later said that all schools and colleges will remain closed in Jammu region tomorrow in view of bandh call.