Curfew Clamped In Most Parts Of Jammu, Rajouri

Curfew Clamped In Most Parts Of Jammu, Rajouri

10 August 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Curfew was clamped under the jurisdiction of about a dozen police stations in Jammu district and Army was called out in the mid-night tonight following apprehensions of communal violence as protesters continued to burn tyres and hold protests till late in the night in various parts of the City in protest against yesterday’s Kishtwar violence. Curfew was also clamped in Rajouri town after minor trouble tonight. Curfew continued for second consecutive day today in Kishtwar town and outskirts as Army staged flag march in disturbed areas while tension flared up in Paddar, Atholi and Kajai after a procession taken out by the minorities to protest yesterday’s vandalism in Kishtwar was fired upon from inside the houses this afternoon following which minorities retaliated with firing and injured six civilians. Some shops were also damaged. Over 5000 pilgrims of Machail Mata Ji remained stranded at Gulabgarh and Dool for the last two days with yatra remaining suspended. DIG Jammu-Kathua range Shakeel Ahmad Beig told the Excelsior that curfew was clamped in the midnight tonight under the jurisdiction of 12 police stations in Jammu and Army was called out to maintain law and order. He said curfew has been imposed under the jurisdiction of Janipura, Bakshi Nagar, Nowabad, City, Pacca Danga, Pir Mitha, Bagh-e-Bahu, Trikuta Nagar, Channi Himmat, Gandhi Nagar and Satwari police stations. Army has also been called out in entire City and outskirts especially the sensitive areas, where there were chances of flare up of violence. Army columns moved out in the City around the midnight tonight after which the youths indulging in violence dispersed and normalcy was restored. Before imposition of curfew, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, AK Sahu met GOC 16 Corps Lt Gen DS Hooda and sought Army assistance in maintenance of law and order. The Army agreed after obtaining written request, official sources said. After deployment, Army staged flag march in some sensitive areas including New Plots, which had witnessed violence till late tonight in which some shops were burnt and damaged. The youths continued protests till late tonight in various parts of the City including New Plots, Exchange Road, Purani Mandi, City Chowk etc burning tyres and shouting slogans. Authorities finding no end to protests and few incidents of violence in New Plots decided to impose curfew and call out Army to prevent any flare up of violence tomorrow. Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri, Faquir Chand Bhagat ordered imposition of curfew in Rajouri town at 10.30 pm after some miscreants pelted stones at Anderkoot Masjid in Rajouri town. After stone pelting, the people from inside the Mosque and other places came out and indulged in sloganeering. SSP Rajouri Mubassir Latifi said to keep the situation under control and prevent any spurt in violence, the administration clamped curfew in Rajouri town at 10.30 pm. He said situation was well under control in Rajouri town and curfew has been imposed only as a precautionary measure. A complete bandh was observed in Jammu region to denounce the violence let loose against the minorities by the majority community in Kishtwar yesterday. The bandh was further extended for 48 hours i.e. till Monday night by the all party action committee, which demanded immediate dismissal of Minister of State for Home Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, registration of FIR against him and other rioters, who torched shops and other property and gunned down a civilian besides injuring several others. The bandh described as “historic” by many observers was peaceful barring few incidents of stone pelting on vehicles at Vijaypur and Rajouri. A tipper was set on fire at Vijaypur. Traffic on National Highways of Jammu-Pathankot and Jammu-Srinagar and all other major roads remained suspended while the protesters at Govindsar in Kathua briefly disrupted train services. A BJP delegation on way to Kishtwar to meet the victims and receive Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, scheduled to visit Kishtwar tomorrow, was detained at Batote by the police while a Vishav Hindu Parishad delegation was kept under house arrest at Kud. Mr Jaitley has been deputed by the party high command to Kishtwar to assess the situation. Sources said that Army remained deployed in all sensitive areas of Kishtwar town and outskirts for second consecutive day today. It enforced curfew strictly. No incident of arson or violence was reported from any part of Kishtwar during the day today. Para-military CRPF, Shastra Seema Bal (SSB) and local police assisted the Army in maintenance of law and order. Additional companies of CRPF and IRP had already reached Kishtwar from Jammu last night and were assisting troops in maintenance of law and order. Army staged flag march in sensitive areas to restore shattered confidence among the people. Newly posted DC Kishtwar Baseer Khan and SSP Sanjay Kotwal took charge of their post as Home Secretary Suresh Kumar, DGP Ashok Prasad, Additional DGP (Co-ordination) PL Gupta and IGP Jammu Rajesh Kumar remained stationed at Kishtwar to monitor law and order situation. Though situation in Kishtwar was normal, trouble erupted at Paddar, Atholi and Kajai areas of Gulabgarh when a peaceful procession being taken by the minorities in protest against yesterday’s violence at village Kajai was fired upon by the people with 12 bore guns from inside their houses. The firing flared-up the trouble and the people indulged in violence in which some shops were damaged. Six civilians were injured in firing by the minority community. Mob also set on fire a vehicle. Additional force was rushed to three villages to control the situation. However, the situation was stated to be very tense in the villages as people even didn’t allow a helicopter to land, which had come to airlift the injured. Later, the injured were shifted to an unknown hospital in ambulances in the presence of Army. Three injured have been identified as Mohammad Ayaz, Altaf Hussain and Mushtaq Khandey. Meanwhile, body of Arvind Raj Bhagat son of Des Raj Bhagat, a resident of Sangram Bhatta, who was shot by the miscreants of majority community in Kishtwar town yesterday, was handed over to his family this afternoon by the police after post-mortem. He was cremated at Chowgan cremation ground in Kishtwar town at 5 pm in the presence of a large number of people, who had come from different villages. Body of another civilian Bashir Ahmad Mochi, 45, son of Ghulam Hussain Mochi, a resident of Sangram Bhatta, who had also been burnt to death at Chowgan Ground by the miscreants, was also handed over to his family and was buried at Kishtwar graveyard this afternoon. Authorities had deployed Army, para-military and police in large number to ward off possibility of any trouble during the cremation. The people shouted slogans against MoS Home Sajjad Kitchloo, police, NC Government and local administration for allegedly giving free hand to the rioters to target property of the minorities yesterday. Tempers ran high during cremation of 20 years old Des Raj Bhagat, an Engineering student. The cremation was performed during massive sloganeering even in the presence of Army, CRPF, SSB and police besides senior officers of civil and police administration. During the day, the senior officers camping at Kishtwar and newly appointed DC and SSP made several attempts to persuade representatives of the minorities to agree for dialogue with majority community to help restore normalcy but they refused. The minorities said majority of their shops and other business establishments apart from a number of vehicles have been torched. “Most of us were almost finished. Nothing has been left for us to earn. We have to start our lives afresh. In such a situation, there is no fun of talks,” they said. They were highly critical of the fact that vandalism continued in Kishtwar town in the presence of MoS Home Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, who represents the constituency and the Minister made no attempt to control it. He even didn’t order police to stop the rioters from torching the property of minorities, they lamented. They said the violence targeting minorities was not only pre-planned but well-planned as such a large number of shops and other property can’t be set afire or damaged instantly within couple of hours. Trouble erupted in Reasi after Riaz Malik, a Forester and kin of a former Minister and NC leader posted some controversial remarks on Facebook, which were resented by the people. However, no action was taken against the Forester though authorities had assured the people that a FIR has been registered against him and he has been placed under suspension. DC Reasi Shahid Iqbal said one person accused of posting a message himself reported to police after objection raised by another group and the matter is under investigation. Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in entire Jammu region today in protest against yesterday’s incidents of violence in Kishtwar town. Several youth were injured in clashes with police and para-military forces at City Chowk and Purani Mandi during the day. Official sources and independent reports said that a complete bandh like the one witnessed in Jammu during famous two months long historic and successful Amarnath land agitation of 2008, was observed in entire Jammu region with all shops, Government offices, banks, business and all commercial establishments remaining closed and traffic staying off the road on all major National Highways, roads and even interior areas. The bandh was voluntarily as very few people could be seen enforcing it. People observed the bandh to express their strong resentment against the violence unleashed against the minorities in Kishtwar and complete failure of the State Government to control it in time leading to heavy losses of the people. The protesters at most of the places were heard chanting religious slogans like 'Bum Bum Bhole’. In all major towns along National Highways of Jammu-Srinagar and Jammu-Pathankot, Jammu-Poonch road and other major and small roads, the people burnt tyres and used other modes of road blockades to stop even private vehicular movement to enforce a complete bandh and record their protest against the Kishtwar vandalism. Sensing mood of the representatives of various organisations met here this evening and decided to extend the bandh for next 48 hours i.e. till Monday night. Representatives of the organisations, which were present in the meeting, included Jugal Sharma, president BJP, Yashpal Gupta, president, Associated Chamber of Traders Federation, Shyam Langar (Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Narayan Singh (Rajput Sabha), Anil Gupta (Ragunath Bazaar Traders Association), Ved Khullar, Vijay Gupta, Anand Sharma, Rajinder Motial, Anil Sharma, Kuldeep Luthra, Bharat Bhushan Gupta, Sat Pal Samotra, Madhu Sharma, Yudhvir Sethi, Prem Choudhary and Vijay Kumar. The organisations have demanded dismissal of Mr Kitchloo, Rs 10 lakh compensation for each of the person, whose property has been damaged and adequate deployment of forces to restore confidence among the minorities. The Bar Association also met under the chairmanship of Mohinder Bhardwaj, president and extended the bandh call for 48 more hours. The Bar Association said it abstained from the work in Jammu as well as Samba, Udhampur, Reasi and Kathua. The Bar held a massive demonstration in court complexes and Janipura Chowk. It demanded stern action against those involved in vitiating peaceful atmosphere of Kishtwar and surrounding areas and compensation to the victims. Police at Batote detained a high level BJP delegation on way to Kishtwar from Jammu comprising Dr Nirmal Singh, Dr Jitendra Singh, Chander Mohan Sharma, Bali Bhagat, Pawan Khajuria and Manish Sharma. Dr Jitendra Singh, chief spokesman and national executive member said the police gave them in writing that they can’t proceed to Kishtwar in view of law and order situation. They were detained at Batote. The delegation was on way to Kishtwar to assess the situation caused by yesterday’s violent incidents. The police at Kud also detained the Vishav Hindu Parishad delegation led by Dr Rama Kant Dubey and Leela Karan Sharma. They too were on way to Kishtwar. Sources said about 5000 pilgrims of Machail Mata Ji were stranded at Gulabgarh and about 250 at Dool in Kishtwar district in view of curfew and violent incidents. While the pilgrims at Gulabgarh were safe and had enough food in view of langars organised there, the pilgrims at Dool rang up the Excelsior and sought their evacuation as they feared for their lives. Moreover, they said, they have nothing to feed themselves. They added that their pleas had fallen on deaf ear of the administration. In Jammu City, a complete bandh was observed with all shops and commercial establishments closed and traffic off the roads. Youths fought pitched battles with police for two to three hours at Shaheedhi Chowk as they tried to march towards Talab Khatikan to enforce bandh there but were prevented by police and CRPF. Youths pelted stones on police and para-military personnel, who retaliated with tear smoke shells and lathicharge. SP City (North) Jatinder Singh Johar and SHO City Sunil Gupta were among over two dozen persons including the protesters injured in the clashes. The protesters said they wanted to speak to shopkeepers to persuade them to observe bandh but police didn’t allow them anticipating trouble. This led to clashes that continued for two to three hours. Police retaliated to stoning by the mob with lathicharge and tear smoking leading to injuries to several protesters. Some of the injured were hospitalized. All major markets in the City wore deserted look. In the evening, youths pelted stones on police at Purani Mandi, Exchange Road, New Plots, Patoli Mangotrian and various other places following rumours of different kind. The youths burnt tyres to protest the “incidents”, which, in fact, hadn’t taken place. The protesters torched Maruti 800 No. 6364 JK14 at Exchange Road tonight. Police had to face a very tough time late tonight to control the mob, which remained on streets denouncing the Kishtwar violence as well as certain rumours that engulfed different parts of the City on killing of a youth. New Plots remained the trouble zone where a large number of youths continued to protest till midnight. They also damaged some vehicles and shops after six of them were injured in police lathicharge. A couple of shops were burnt. Some shops had been looted in the area as refrigerators and other items were found on the road. A virtual clash between the two groups was averted around 11.30 pm with the arrival of DIG Jammu Shakeel Beig and other senior officers on the spot, who pacified both the sides. Police had to used tear smoke shells and lathicharge to disperse the rampaging mob, which had torched and looted the shops. Trouble also erupted in Talab Khatikan and Gujjar Nagar areas when the people came out of their houses. However, police officers persuaded them to return on the ground that situation was peaceful and they shouldn’t believe on rumours. Earlier in the day, the people set on fire a tipper No. 6482 JK02AJ and damaged a SRTC bus 0355 JK02Y at Vijaypur in Samba district. The mob also gheroed Congress MP Lal Singh when he was heading towards Jammu from Kathua for some time. Several vehicles were damaged on Jammu-Pathankot National Highway by the protesters while on Jammu-Srinagar highway, the youths burnt tyres at various places right from Nagrota to Ramban to disrupt vehicular movement in protest against Kishtwar violence. Mob also raised blockades at different places on Jammu-Rajouri road. However, the protests at all the places were peaceful and barring stray incidents no major violence was reported from any part of the region. At Govindsar in Kathua district, the activists of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP) disrupted rail traffic. They stood atop Jammu-Ahmedabad Express and blocked it for half an hour. However, no damage was caused to the train or the passengers. The impact of bandh was visible not only in towns and urban areas but even in the rural belt of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi, Ramban and Rajouri. Bandh was, however, partial in Poonch, Doda and Bhaderwah towns where shops and business establishments of only minorities were closed. People in all cities, towns and rural areas burnt tyres and held demonstrations. At most of the places, the mob burnt effigies of the Government and the MoS Home holding them responsible for Kishtwar carnage. The bandh passed off peacefully in all major parts of Jammu region. There was no locality in the Cities, towns or rural areas, where the people didn’t hold protests, burnt tyres or torched effigies of the Government. Large processions were taken out in various parts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi during the day. The processionists, however, remained peaceful at most of the places. At some areas, they stoned shops and vehicles damaging them. Reports of complete bandh were reported from Rajouri, Nowshera, Kalakote, Siot and Sunderbani in Rajouri district, Poonch town, Pallanwalla, Khour, Jourian, Akhnoor, Kanachak, Domana, Jammu City, Nagrota, RS Pura, Bishnah, Bari Barahamana, Vijaypur, Ghagwal, Samba, Rajbagh, Kathua, Bani, Basohli, Billawar, Mahanpur, Ramkot, Nagrota, Gujru, Paddu, Phinter, Dayalachak, Kuta, Chadwal, Mareen, Lakhanpur, Hiranagar, Ramnagar, Chenani, Udhampur, Reasi, Arnas, Chasana, Dharmari, Pouni, Bharakh, Ramban, Chanderkoot, Ramsu etc. Major towns and rural areas along Jammu-Pathankot and Jammu-Srinagar National Highways and Jammu-Rajouri road also observed complete bandh. People held protests and burnt effigies of the Government. Addressing a protest demonstration, Congress MLC Naresh Gupta directly blamed MoS Home Sajjad Kitchloo for the violence targeted against minorities and demanded his immediate dismissal. He said the worst kind of violence against the minorities has taken place in Kishtwar and blamed Mr Kitchloo and the district administration for it. Injured admitted in police action at City Chowk, Purani Mandi and New Plots have been identified as Rakesh Kumar, son of Late Sain Dass of Shiv Nagar, SHO Sunil Gupta, son of Late Dewan Chand, Deepak Gupta, son of Krishan Gupta of Sanjay Nagar, SP City Jatinder Singh Johar, Constable Ajay Kumar, son of Nasib Ram of Phalain Mandal, Inspector Rajesh Jasrotia, son of Balkar Singh of Kathua, posted at DPL Jammu, Constable Mukesh Chander, son of Prithvi Raj, Constable Gurmeet Singh, son of Inder Singh of RS Pura, Kuldeep Kumar, son of Keshav Ram of Rajpura Camp, Constable Ajay Kumar, son of Jaggu Ram of Pallanwala, Sanjay, son of Bishan Kumar of Rehari Colony, Dheeraj Gupta, son of Vijay of Sarwal, Constable Vishal Sharma, son of Pritam Lal of Billawar, Constable Surinder Kumar, son of Thakur Dass of Billawar, Constable Darshan Kumar, son of Mansa Ram of Bani, Constable Shishan Kumar, son of Des Raj of Billawar, Dileep Kumar, son of Som Raj of Kishtwar, Sunil Kumar, son of Mana Chand of Kishtwar, Head Constable Joginder Singh, son of Gian Singh of Samba and Paramjeet, son of Charan Dass of New Plot (shell injury in neck at New Plot).