Prohibitory Orders Imposed As Police, Protesters Clash At Various Places

1 August 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Authorities today imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC within the Municipal limits of all tehsils of Jammu district including limits of JMC Jammu banning all kind of rallies as leaders and workers of AIIMS Coordination Committee (CC) clashed with police and para-military CRPF at various places on Day 2 of 72 hours bandh called by them demanding full-fledged AIIMS for Jammu as over a dozen bandh supporters and three police personnel were injured in the incidents of stone pelting, which were retaliated by police with tear smoke shells and lathicharge. Police have seized four vehicles of the bandh supporters and arrested 16 youths involved in stone pelting. Police have also registered a First Information Report (FIR) against AIIMS CC chairman and president Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Associate Abhinav Sharma and his colleague in the CC and Transporters' leader Tarlochan Singh Wazir under Sections 336, 427, 147 and 148 RPC at Gangyal police station for resorting to violence and damaging provisional store D-Mart at Kunjwani on Jammu-Pathankot National Highway while leading group of protesters during the bandh yesterday. 'The FIR has been registered by name against Abhinav Sharma and Tarlochan Singh Wazir,' official sources told the Excelsior and said both leaders of the Coordination Committee have been charged with indulging in stone pelting and causing damage to the property. Another open FIR has been registered at Nowabad police station under Sections 147, 332, 336 and 427 RPC in connection with today's violence. While Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Samba and Reasi observed complete bandh for second consecutive day today, the district administration Jammu imposed Section 144 CrPC within Municipal limits of all tehsils of Jammu district this morning to prevent the AIIMS CC from taking out rallies and processions in the City. However, the bandh supporters defied the prohibitory orders at various places during the day, leading to use of tear smoke shells and lathicharge by the police. Sources said imposition of the prohibitory orders was necessitated following yesterday's clash between AIIMS CC leaders and workers with BJP and BJYM activists outside the BJP Headquarters yesterday. Following imposition of the prohibitory orders, the district administration has also withdrawn the permission given to the AIIMS CC for using loud speakers for announcement of bandh call for three days Major trouble erupted outside Gandhi Nagar hospital this afternoon when the CC activists tried to take out processions towards Gole Market, Gandhi Nagar. Citing imposition of Section 144 CrPC, police officers asked the bandh supporters to disperse but they continued to move ahead in defiance of the prohibitory orders. Police and CRPF personnel fired tear smoke shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse the protesters in which some youth sustained injuries. Two injured youth, who had been hit by tear smoke shells, were admitted to the Government Medical College, Jammu. They have been identified as Gagandeep Singh, a Medical Representative and Vikas Sawhney. Reports said they were responding to the treatment. Three police personnel injured in the stoning have been indentified as Bunty Khajuria, Rakesh Dass and Barinder Singh. A number of tear smoke shells fell inside the Government Hospital, Gandhi Nagar while few others landed in houses of the people. Even private vehicles went off the roads during police-protesters clash at Gandhi Nagar. However, situation returned to normal after about one and half hour after the bandh supporters dispersed. Prior to Gandhi Nagar, Dogra Chowk outside Nowabad police station became the major focal point of clash between the bandh supporters and CRPF and police. Police didn't allow the bandh supporters to march towards the City from Vikram Chowk and stopped their vehicles at Dogra Chowk, leading to clash. Some of the AIIMS CC leaders and activists grappled with police officers and jawans, who had stationed water canon vehicle at the Chowk to prevent the protesters from marching towards the City. There were virtually physical clash between some of the AICC leaders with police officials. The police and CRPF personnel resorted to lathicharge to stop the bandh supporters from moving ahead but a number of them managed to breach police cordon to reach Parade Ground. A separate procession of the CC activists was stopped at Vivekanand Chowk from marching towards Indira Chowk and the City. However, the CC activists, who had reached Parade Ground, faced stiff resistance from police and para-military personnel, who foiled their plan to march towards the BJP Headquarters. Police had barricaded all roads leading to Kachi Chawni Headquarters of the BJP with barbed wire fencing. After repeated attempts, the CC activists returned from Parade Ground. A number of youths came out of the streets of Purani Mandi and subjected CRPF and police personnel to stone pelting late in the afternoon. Police immediately swung into action and chased away the protesters. Sources said police have seized four vehicles of the CC, which were being used by the protesters at Dogra Chowk for moving towards Jammu City by defying the prohibitory orders. Some of the youths sustained injuries in police lathicharge. Though the CC claimed that their 50 workers have been injured in police action, police put the number at 'about a dozen'. A number of cops were also injured by the protesters, they added. Sixteen bandh supporters have been arrested by police at different places for indulging in violence while some others have been detained as preventive measure, sources said. Three of them were identified as Pawan Chib S-o Yograj Singh R-o Bantalab, Ashwani Kumar S-o Banarsi Dass R-o Shakti Nagar and Sunita Sharma W-o Narinder Pal R-o Lower Gadigarh. Four vehicle seized by police included TATA 407 bearing No 1686 JK02AX, 8757 JK02AA (TATA Mobile), 1167 JK02BB (Eon Car) and 5369-BC (Scooty). RS Pura town was another trouble spot on second day of bandh today. Trouble erupted when BJP MLA from RS Pura Gagan Bhagat wanted the shopkeepers to resume their business as they were suffering heavy losses in view of bandh. Some of the shopkeepers opened their shutters while others kept them down. In the meantime, Congress leader Mohan Choudhary also reached the spot and objected to forcible opening of shops. The BJP and Congress leaders and workers grappled but police officials immediately intervened and whisked away both of them to safety. The clash was averted. Sources said the bandh supporters pelted stones at several places to stop some of the vehicles, which had come on the roads this morning causing damage to them. Some shops were also damaged by them to force complete bandh in Jammu. At several other places also, minor scuffles were reported between police and protesters but police didn't use force. The BJP has made it clear that AIIMS of Jammu and Kashmir will be set up with names of 'AIIMS of J&K, Jammu' and 'AIIMS of J&K, Srinagar-Anantnag' (or any other place where it would be set up). Both the AIIMS would have equal beds, same number of faculties, doctors, para-medical and other staff, one Medical College and Nursing College each, one Director each and all other facilities at both the regions, which are given to the full fledged AIIMS. Both Institutions will have same funding on the pattern of AIIMS. Today again, the bandh supporters raised blockades at main Tawi bridge keeping it closed for several hours in the morning. However, other bridges on the river Tawi remained open but there were only private vehicles to move on them as commercial traffic stayed off the roads for second consecutive day today. The bandh organizers has parked vehicles in the middle of Tawi bridge and blocked traffic on either side of the City. While all mode of commercial transport remained off the roads for second day today, the movement of private vehicles was also disrupted. People travelling in private vehicles had to take to three other Tawi bridges to reach their destinations. The Tawi bridge remained blocked most of the time till this afternoon. Police, though, present in strength at the Tawi bridge, didn't try to remove the vehicles and other modes of blockades raised by the bandh supporters. The bridge was opened for traffic in the afternoon. The bandh supporters also blocked Jammu-Pathankot and Jammu-Srinagar National Highways and Jammu-Akhnoor road at various places for a brief period by sitting on the road, burning tyres and parking vehicles in middle of the road. However, the highways and roads were cleared for private vehicles by the police personnel after sometime. The bandh supporters dispersed peacefully. Majority of schools, colleges, Jammu University and other educational institutions remained closed in Jammu and other parts of the region for second day today even as there was no official holiday declared by the administration. However, some Central and private schools were seen open but attendance was very thin. Attendance was also very thin in the offices of Central and State Governments in view of non availability of transport. Banks also remained closed. Only few Government employees could make it to the offices. Most of the commercial transport including buses, taxis, three-wheelers, trucks, matadors etc didn't come out of their Stands right from the morning. Few autos and buses, which came on the roads, went off immediately as the bandh supporters subjected them to stone pelting. Several vehicles were damaged in stone pelting. However, private vehicles remained on the roads barring the places, where the bandh supporters had raised road blockades by burning tyres and parking vehicles in middle of the road. There was no commercial traffic on Jammu-Srinagar, Jammu-Pathankot and Batote-Kishtwar National Highways in the absence of commercial vehicles, which didn't come out of the General Bus Stand and other such stands. Only private vehicles were seen plying on the Highways and other major roads like Jammu-Akhnoor-Rajouri-Poonch. Even private vehicular movement was disrupted on some occasion when the bandh supporters burnt tyres on the roads and highways. Some trucks, however, plied on the highway. The people, who had to board flights and trains had to trek several kilometers. The worst affected were pilgrims of Mata Vaishno Devi ji and Amarnath ji shrines. However, the convoy of pilgrims of Amarnath ji left as usual from Yatri Niwas Jammu this morning for Pahalgam and Baltal. Number of pilgrims of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi ji and Shri Amarnath ji shrine have reduced drastically due to bandh as people from outside the State have cancelled their visit in the absence of transport facilities. The yatris with their individual vehicles only were proceeding to the cave shrine. All shops, business establishments, hotels, cinema halls and other major installations remained closed in response to the bandh call. Some of the shops opened in the morning but the shopkeepers downed their shutters later. Reports of complete bandh were received from Jammu City, its peripheries and outskirts and all major towns of Jammu district. Reports of bandh were also received from Udhampur, Ramnagar and Chenani towns in Udhampur district, Hiranagar, Dayala Chak, Chadwal, Rajbagh, Ramkot, Kathua, Bani, Basohli and Billawar in Kathua district. At most of these places, shops and other business establishments remained closed and traffic in the interiors was also off the roads. Private traffic continued to ply at all the places. At several places, Advocates, youths and other people took out processions and rallies on two wheelers in support of the demand for setting up full-fledged AIIMS in Jammu. Reasi town also observed complete bandh today. Yesterday, Reasi town hadn't responded to the bandh call. However, no untoward incident was reported from any of the towns, where the bandh was observed. At various places, Advocates, youths, political activists and other people took out rallies on foot, bikes and scooters and marched in the towns in shape of processions demanding full-fledged AIIMS for Jammu. At some of the places, they also shouted slogans against the BJP for backtracking from its promise of setting up independent AIIMS in Jammu and compromising on 'similar facilities of AIIMS for Jammu and Kashmir regions'. Police administration had made elaborate security arrangements to ensure peace during the bandh. CRPF and police had been deployed in adequate strength at all sensitive places to maintain peace. Barring Kachi Chawni, CRPF and police didn't have to use force anywhere to control the protesters.