3 Cops Among 8 Injured In Kishtwar; Jammu Tense

3 Cops Among 8 Injured In Kishtwar; Jammu Tense

12 August 2013
Kashmir Times


Jammu: Additional Superintendent of Police and two selection grade constables were among eight injured in police-protesters clash on Monday after a youth was picked up by the police in Hidyal area, around 100 meters away from trouble-torn Kishtwar town, for his alleged involvement in violence on August 9. Earlier last night also, four police personnel sustained injuries in Shalimar Chowk, 10 kms from Kishtwar town when unknown miscreants had allegedly attacked their vehicle and set it on fire. In the meanwhile, the police arrested eleven persons in connection with various violence-related incidents including arson, looting besides the pasting of provocative posters in Kishtwar. Around 100 persons were held in Jammu district for arson related incidents. However, the curfew continued to be in place in all seven districts and the parts of Doda district. While the situation had slightly eased in Udhampur, Reasi, Kathua, Samba districts, it continued to be tense in Kishtwar, Jammu and Rajouri districts where curfew was strictly enforced by the army troops with the assistance of police and paramilitary forces. There was no relaxation in Kishtwar, reeling under curfew for the past four days. Similarly the indefinite curfew strictly remained in force in Jammu and Rajouri consecutively on the second day. Movement was strictly restricted in Jammu district, which witnessed lot of political hustle-bustle and developments on Monday including the resignation of Minister of State for Home Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo. Besides the state government after an all party meeting chaired by the Chief Minister ordered judicial enquiry into Kishtwar incident by a retired judge of the State High Court and immediate relief of Rs 2 lakhs (each) to all those whose shops or houses were gutted or damaged in violence. Late this evening, in a press conference the Principal Secretary Home Suresh Kumar and Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Prasad informed that 11 persons were arrested in Kishtwar while 100 persons were held in Jammu district. They stated that curfew would remain in force in Jammu districts in the wake of Bandh call by various political groups for tomorrow also. The curfew would continue in Kishtwar district also. “In the afternoon, any decision regarding curfew relaxation in Jammu would be taken. Amarnath Yatra will be resumed tomorrow. 150 pilgrims will leave tomorrow from Jammu. Two motorcycles were torched in two separate incidents at Domana and Pouni Chak areas,” they informed while updating about the situation in Jammu district. Despite the all party meeting, the Bandh call for tomorrow has been given by VHP, JKNPP and other like minded parties and gropus. State BJP however has announced to continue the stir till the government comes out in writing about the verbal assurance of the Chief Minister during all parties meeting vis-à-vis individual assessment of losses to properties in Kishtwar. KISHTWAR: Hardly two hours after the Minister of State for Home Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo tendered his resignation in Jammu, the protesters in hundreds defying curfew came out to protest against the picking up of youth and clashed with the police in Hidyal area of Kishtwar. Though the intervention of army troops pacified the protesters seeking immediate release of the youth yet the situation continued to be tense there. Till the last reports poured in, the protesters had not called off their protest dharna against the police. The trouble in Hidyal erupted at around 3.15 PM, when the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Farooq Qaiser picked up a youth identified as Saajan Kumar, 18, when he was going to fetch water, alleging that he was also involved in incidents of arson on August 9. This agitated the locals and the women came out defying the curfew to register their protest against the youth’s arrest. The protesters were alleging that Saajan was being framed by the DySP whose role was being questioned in violence on August 9. The protesters blamed local MLA Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo, who had earlier resigned as MoS, for the disturbances in the area. They also slammed a DySP for, what they said, 'targeting innocent youths.’ As they were protesting outside the office of DySP Operations near STF post, the police reinforcement was made on the spot and the police started cane-charging women protesters. This further infuriated the locals and at this point of time, even the male members too joined the protesting women. This ensued heavy stone-pelting between the police and protesters, whose strength was between 3000-4000. As the protesters swelled up, the police resorted to teargassing, lathicharge and finally fired several rounds in air to disperse the mob. This continued for over three hours and at least eight persons including the Additional Superintendent of Police Kulbir Singh and two Selection grade Constables sustained injuries. There were two women among the five civilians who sustained injuries in the incident. As the police-protesters clash continued, finally the army troops intervened and tried to pacify the agitated locals and asked them not to pelt stones. Hard persuasion by the army officers worked and the protesters stopped stone-pelting yet they continued protest dharna against the police, who they said was harassing the innocents and was working with a bias. As the news of clash spread, the locals from adjoining villages of Matta, Bhera Bhata, Sarkote and Kuleed too started proceeding towards the scene of action, however they were prevented from moving forward. Later the army troops took positions and restored normalcy yet the situation was still tense there. In yet another incident which took place last night, four police personnel were injured in Shalimar Chowk, 10 kms from Kishtwar town when unknown miscreants allegedly attacked their vehicle and set it on fire at around 12.30 AM to 1.00 AM. “The attack in the Shalimar area took place late last night as the policemen were travelling from Doda to Kishtwar. The miscreants set the vehicle on fire and took away 10 wireless sets from the cops,” the police said. The injured cops, who have been hospitalized, were identified as head constable Ramesh Kumar, selection grade constable Farooq Ahmed, constable Ashwani Kumar and SPO Anil Kumar. However, the locals had some other version about this incident. In yet another development in Kishtwar, the police arrested eleven persons in connection with various violence-related incidents including arson, looting besides the pasting of provocative posters. The arrested persons also included two Hurriyat leaders belonging to Shabir Shah’s Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), identified as Maulvi Abdul Qayuum and Syed Shabir Ahmed. They were among those five arrested in connection with the pasting of posters carrying the pictures of Afzal Guru and Maqbol Butt inside the mosque and Islamia Faridia School. The posters contained the messages seeking return of last remains of Guru and Butt, who, it was alleged, “were even after their deaths were still confined by the government of India.” Despite the announcement of judicial enquiry into Kishtwar incident, Rs 2 lakhs immediate relief for those whose shops or houses were gutted or damaged and resignation of MoS Home, the members of minority community remained dissatisfied. They were seeking registration of FIR against Kichloo and CBI probe into the violence which took place on August 9. JAMMU: In the wake of incidents of arson and damage to properties despite curfew, the district administration today very strictly enforced it across the walled city of Jammu and outskirts, which even on Monday witnessed three separate incidents of torching of two bikes and damage to a shop. In Hyderpora area in Janipur, a meat shop was ransacked by smashing window glasses by a group of miscreants. In a separate incident, a motorcycle was burnt by the members of nomad community at Akalpur in Domana. The incident occurred when a group of youth on the bikes reached near the habitation of these nomads with an intention to trouble them. The nomads, fearing attack pelted stones on the bikers and also tried to chase them. However the youth fled away yet in the process left behind a bike which was burnt by nomads. In yet another incident at Pouni Chak, a bike was torched by miscreants. In the meanwhile, the army carried out flag marches Monday morning also in the curfew-bound areas to instill confidence among people. The loudspeaker-mounted security vehicles this morning made the announcements in the curfew-bound areas, advising people to remain indoors, as no relaxation was given under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Few incidents of stone pelting and clashes occurred in interiors of the city which necessitated strict enforcement of curfew with restriction on movement of media persons also. The walled city, mainly the sensitive areas were totally barricaded with concertina wires and army trucks placed in the middle of road. The jawans of army, CRPF and J&K police were put on alert to contain any violent situation. Incidents of stone pelting and minor clashes occurred in Roop Nagar and Muthi areas where agitated youth pelted stones on police to show their resentment against the Kishtwar incident. The annual Amarnath yatra remained suspended on Monday too as no pilgrim was allowed to proceed to the valley on the second day. However the Yatra would be resumed tomorrow. The schools in the Jammu division will continue to remain closed on August 13. In the wake of prevailing curfew in Jammu province, the Jammu University has also suspended the class work on August 13, 2013 and Dhanvantri Library will also remain closed. In the meanwhile the state government stated that communal clashes in Kishtwar district claimed three lives and left about 75 business establishments and 35 vehicles damaged in the incidents of arson. “A total of 68 shops, 7 hotels and 35 vehicles have been damaged during the untoward incident and 3 causalities have been reported so far (in the communal violence in Kishtwar district),” Divisional Commissioner Shantmanu said. “Authorities have already started the process of assessment of damages to the property in Kishtwar and videography has been completed,' the Divisional Commissioner said after a meeting late last night. “General condition in the division is stated to be under control and efforts are on to restore rule of law,' he said. Despite the resignation of MoS Home, announcement of judicial enquiry into Kishtwar incident and relief of Rs 2 lakhs for those whose shops or houses were gutted in violence there on August 9 during the all parties meeting chaired by the chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the Bandh call was extended for a day by VHP, JKNPP and other like minded groups. However BJP national spokesperson Dr Jitender Singh, while talking to KTNS, said that though the state government agreed to all three demands put forth by party leadership i.e., sacking of MoS Home, judicial enquiry and compensation to the victims yet the party had certain apprehensions about the government announcements. “Officially speaking the government has admitted that seven hotels too were among the gutted property so the compensation of Rs 2 lakhs was not adequate. Though the Chief Minister had verbally agreed to our demand for assessment of losses on individual basis yet that did not reflect in the official statement released after the all parties meeting. Therefore, the party will continue its stir till a written assurance is given settling our concerns. The shape of our stir however would be decided tomorrow afternoon. As we found the concerns and approach of the Chief Minister very genuine in the meeting so we would wait for his response,” Dr Singh said. VHP in a press conference extended the Bandh call for another 24 hours and asked for Governor’s rule in J&K stating that the judicial inquiry announced by Omar to inquire into the clashes in the Kishtwar district was not sufficient. Addressing the media persons, Dr Shyam Lal Gupta, state general secretary of VHP demanded that an independent fact finding committee should be constituted to assess the property losses of the minorities during the recent clashes. JKNPP appealed to the people of Jammu Pradesh to continue peaceful bandh till the draconian government was dismissed and Governor Rule was imposed. The high power council of JKNPP leaders Prof. Bhim Singh, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh & Balwant Singh Mankotia made this appeal to the people of Jammu particularly the youth and the students to continue peaceful bandh till logical conclusion was drawn. RAJOURI: On second day of imposition of curfew in Rajouri city, the situation was under control but very tense. The curfew continued to remain in force in the entire town without any untoward incident as the army blocked all the entry points of the town and CRPF, district police deployed for the control of internal security didn’t allow any body to move. In a resolution passed in an emergency meeting majority community leaders appealed the administration to first book the miscreants and only then give relaxation in the curfew. However, they appreciated the administration for taking timely action to control the situation. To assess the situation in the district and other parts of the state where authorities imposed curfews a high level meeting of senior army, police and civil officers was held at 6.30 PM in the meeting room in DDC office. “The situation is well under control. In consultation with senior police and army officers and after assessing the situation on the basis of reports from Jammu and other parts of the district, the decision to give relaxation in curfew would be taken,” said DC F C Bhagat. After some incidents of violation curfew was imposed in Sunderbani town in the morning today. Police booked a retired assistant sub inspector on Sunday for preventing the policemen to perform their duties during curfew and to instigate people to pelt stones on police, a retired ASI Maqbool Hussain resident of ward No.4 along with his sons were booked under sections 353-147-336-188 RPC (FIR 420-13). UDHAMPUR: As the situation remained peaceful, five hours relaxation in curfew was given in Udhampur district from 7.00 to 10.00 AM in the morning and 6.00 to 8.00 PM in the evening. Initially the relaxation was for two hours yet later it was extended by one hour. During curfew relaxation, the people took out peaceful protest march-rallies. BJP defied the curfew restriction and took out protest march at 1 PM while JKNPP activists took out march at 6.00 PM. POONCH: In Poonch, a peace march was taken out by the members of civil society and political parties from Pritam Park to Krishan Chander Park. The peace march passed through Hathi Than, Main Bazar, Dharuni, Bus Stand areas before culminating at Krishan Chander park. The senior officers of civil administration and police including DC, ADC ADDC, SSP, SP besides others participated in the peace march. The participants vowed to remain committed to peace, communal harmony and brotherhood. A large number of locals from all communities took part in peace march. REASI: Relaxation in curfew was there from 1700 Hrs to 2000 Hrs in Reasi though it (curfew) continued on the intervening night of August 11 and 12 and also since morning. Two meetings were held with prominent citizens, representatives of various political and religious organisations, youth groups as well as business establishments’ representatives. Meetings were held under chairmanship of District Magistrate Shahid Iqbal and attended by SSP Raghubir Singh, Additional District Magistrates R S Tara and T R Shastri, Commandant IRP P R Manotra, Commandant CRPF and other senior officers of district administration. Thereafter, security scenario was reviewed and based on inputs from police as well as outcome of meetings with general public it was decided, to relax the curfew from 1700 Hrs to 1900 Hrs. Accordingly the army was derequisitioned for this period with requisition thereafter. Depending on the situation curfew was relaxed further till 2000 Hrs however restrictions so imposed continued thereafter for whole night. In first instance market was not allowed to be opened except fruit and vegetable shops, and remaining market remained closed, later market was open. Yatra remained peaceful and uninterrupted both in case of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi and Shri Shiv Khori Shrine. One collision between two buses was reported near Katra and Tehsildar was rushed to spot for necessary action. Ambulance was also rushed to spot immediately. Situation remained peaceful in Arnas and Mahore, however bandh was observed in Arnas, Pouni and Ransoo. In Katra also peaceful protest was carried out and shops will remain closed till 1700 Hrs. Close liaison between Magistrates, Police, Army and PMF was in place to meet any exigency. No violent or untoward incident was reported so far in the district. Around 100 people carried out peaceful protest during relaxation for half an hour and dispersed peacefully in Katra. Market opened in Katra at 1700 Hrs and business establishments remained open thereafter. Army column called for Pouni town has been derequisitioned keeping in view restoration of normalcy. Twenty two magistrates were deployed across the district. Over all situation in the district remained incident free.