Breakthrough On Cards In Kishtwar Crisis

Breakthrough On Cards In Kishtwar Crisis

20 August 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: The all party delegation tonight appeared to be heading towards breakthrough in resolving 12 days long crisis in Kishtwar town arising out of August 9 vandalism leading to imposition of indefinite curfew and deployment of Army in the town with a joint meeting of the two communities proposed at 10 am tomorrow. “If everything goes well, representatives of both minority and majority communities would sit together at 10 am tomorrow in cordial atmosphere and their majority of issues would be addressed. Curfew might be lifted or relaxed, shops re-opened and a peace march taken out by both the communities along with members of all party delegation in the town after tomorrow’s meeting,” reliable sources told the Excelsior. They said there was unanimity between both the communities that curfew should be lifted immediately and peace and harmony maintained, a demand the all party delegation, headed by Medical Education Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din, has conceded. The joint meeting of the two communities was initially scheduled to be held this evening but the minorities wanted some of their issues to be addressed first, which led to the delay. Sources said the majority community had turned up for the joint meeting at the Deputy Commissioner office complex around 7 pm but representatives of the minorities met at the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) demanding that the delegation first assure them on the remaining issues. “Finally all the issues of minorities were addressed and they turned up for the joint meeting at about 8.30 pm. However, by then some of the representatives of the majority community had left. Also, some members of the minorities couldn’t make it to the venue. Finally, it was decided that the joint meeting would be held at 10 am tomorrow,” sources said. They added that there was consensus that the Government would take effective measures to provide security to both the communities and ensure that such riots didn’t occur in future. “Role of both the communities today was very positive and they fully cooperated with the delegation to end the deadlock,” sources said, adding since most of the issues of both the communities have been addressed, they would turn up for tomorrow’s meeting in more positive mood. Curfew was likely to be lifted or relaxed after tomorrow’s meeting. Shops and business establishments were likely to be re-opened and peace march taken out by both the communities. There was consensus that para-military Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would replace Shastra Seema Bal (SSB) in Kishtwar while security pickets will be set up in all sensitive areas of Kishtwar town, outskirts and other places for protection of the people and ensure that there were no clashes in future. On demand for CBI inquiry into the riots, it was assured that if the judicial inquiry recommended by the Government suggested after the probe that the CBI inquiry was required into the incidents, it would be ordered. The two communities were told that the Government has recommended names of four Judges (two serving and retired) to the Chief Justice for approving one of them for judicial inquiry. On the transfer of police officials, it has almost been agreed that the people should wait for the outcome of the judicial inquiry. The Government would take action against police or civil officials and politicians found involved in instigating the riots. In normal course, the Government has no problem in transferring an officer from one place to another in routine manner. The Government would arrange insurance camp on spot for the people, who had insured their property, which was burnt down by the mob so that the people didn’t have to face problems in getting insurance. The Government would also take up the matter with Banks for giving concessions in loans to the riot victims and delay their installments. On the alleged involvement of BJP leader Sunil Sharma’s PSO, police said no case of Section 302 RPC has been registered against him. He has been detained for questioning in connection with rioting. Sources said there was consensus that the Government would immediately release Rs 2 lakh compensation for the persons, whose shops, business establishments and other property has been burnt, damaged or looted while ceiling for maximum compensation would be Rs 5 lakh. Remaining compensation would be released after assessment by a Committee, which would be constituted by the Government and relief released in time bound manner in one month. The delegation, which was scheduled to return today, extended its visit by a day to resolve the crisis. The delegation was likely to return tomorrow afternoon after resolving the issue. On the issue of Village Defence Committees (VDCs), sources said it has already been made clear by the Government that they would stay as they had been set up on the directions of the Union Home Ministry. Earlier in the day, the delegation had five and a half hours long meeting with the representatives of majority community in the town and listened to their demands. The minorities reiterated their demand for action against BJP leader Sunil Sharma for allegedly instigating violence, disbanding of VDCs, retention of DIG Doda-Ramban and the DySP Headquarters, action against those involved in the killing of two persons of majority community and compensation to the majority community, which had suffered losses in 2008 clashes. The delegation had met representatives of minorities for over four and a half hours last night. Meanwhile, curfew continued in Kishtwar town and outskirts for 12th consecutive day today. No relaxation was given in the curfew today though yesterday it was relaxed for two hours and the relaxation period had passed off peacefully. People in Kishtwar were facing acute shortage of essential commodities due to prolonged spell of curfew. The all party delegation headed by Medical Education Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din comprised Devender Singh Rana and Surjit Singh Slathia (National Conference), Janak Raj Gupta and Thakur Hari Singh (Congress), Dr Nirmal Singh and Ashok Khajuria (BJP), Sheikh Abdul Rehman (Samajwadi Party), Balwant Singh Mankotia (NPP), Tulsi Dass Langeh and Rattan Kumar Bhagat (BSP), HS Raina (Shiromani Akali Dal), R S Bloeria (NCP), Sham Parsad Kesar (CPM) and Tej Ram Dogra (PDF).