Bandh Enters Day 4 As CC Activists Defy Prohibitory Orders

3 August 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Jammu observed a bandh for fourth consecutive day today in response to the call given by AIIMS Coordination Committee demanding full-fledged and independent AIIMS for Jammu while the CC leaders and activists defied prohibitory orders clamped within the Municipal limits and took out processions in the City twice to highlight their demand and ensure complete bandh. The CC leaders and activists apart from some Congress leaders were arrested in Kathua and Jewel Chowk area for defying prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC but all of them were released in the evening. The bandh was completely peaceful today with no incidents of violence or stone pelting reported from any part of the City and outskirts. Police and CRPF had normal day today contrary to two hectic days when they had to fight the stone pelting and resort to tear smoke shells. Shops, business establishments, majority of educational institutions including Jammu University and Colleges and some offices of both Centre and State Governments remained closed for fourth day today. The Government offices and few schools functioned with very thin attendance in Jammu City and outskirts in view of non availability of commercial transport, which was off the roads for fourth successive day. Reacting to very thin attendance in the Government schools, Director School Education, Yasha Mudgal today came out with an official order asking the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to set up monitoring squads to check full presence in the schools. The Government offices, which were open in the City, were deserted in the absence of visitors as commercial vehicles like buses, matadors, three-wheelers, taxis etc stayed off the roads. Only private vehicles were seen plying on the roads. Contrary to three previous days, the bandh organizers today didn't burn tyres or raise any kind of road blockades to disrupt movement of private vehicles. Commercial vehicles were not seen on any of the National Highways though movement of private vehicles was normal. In fact, buses and taxis in Jammu didn't come out of their stands. However, situation was altogether different today in Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi districts. Though all major towns of these districts had responded to the bandh call for first three days, most of them resumed their normal working today. Barring Kathua and Udhampur towns, it was business as usual in Samba, Vijaypur, Bari Brahamana and Ramgarh towns of Samba district, Bani, Basohli, Billawar, Hiranagar, Rajbagh and Ramkot towns of Kathua district, Chenani and Ramnagar towns of Udhampur district and Reasi town in Reasi district. Udhampur town, however, observed bandh for fourth day today. Trouble erupted in Kathua town this morning when a faction of shopkeepers wanted to open their shops while the AIIMC CC activists including Advocates apart from some Congress leaders wanted the market to remain closed. Both sides indulged in slogans shouting each others. Police intervened immediately and arrested the AIIMS CC activists and Congress leaders. However, most of the shops remained closed in Kathua town while all other towns of Kathua district were open today. The arrested leaders and workers of the AIIMS CC were released this evening. At Jewel Chowk also, police arrested half a dozen leaders and activists of the AIIMS CC when the CC was taking out a procession from their dharna site at Tawi bridge towards Talab Tillo by GGM Science College and Canal Road. While most of the CC leaders and workers managed to move ahead, some of the workers, who were in the tail, were arrested by Nowabad police on the charges of defying prohibitory orders. They were, however, released in the afternoon on 'muchalka'. The CC activists twice defied Section 144 CrPC-first while taking out a march from High Court to BC Road Tawi Bridge, Gandhi Nagar and other areas before being stopped on second bridge over Tawi at Gujjar Nagar. They were not allowed to march in a procession from Gujjar Nagar onwards and were released in batches. Again they defied prohibitory orders when they took out a rally from Tawi bridge to Talab Tillo via Canal road. While taking out the rally, the AIIMS CC activists led by all prominent senior leaders were shouting slogans in favour of their demand for setting up full-fledged and independent AIIMS for Jammu and against the BJP for 'misleading the people'. However, there was no confrontation between the CC activists and police as the rallyists passed peacefully and didn't turn violent anywhere like Saturday when large-scale clashes were witnessed between police and protesters leading to tear smoking and lathicharge by the cops. The bandh was complete in Jammu City, its outskirts and peripheral areas. Police and CRPF had been deployed in adequate numbers at various places to check any untoward incident. Shops and business establishments were closed in Jammu while all modes of commercial transport were off the roads. Private vehicles plied normally. The bandh organizers hadn't raised road blockades anywhere to disrupt movement of private vehicles. The AIIMS CC had yesterday extended the bandh call by another 72 hours i.e. till August 5 evening. The pilgrims of Mata Vaishno Devi ji and Shri Amarnath ji shrines continued to suffer very badly due to the bandh call, leading to sharp decline in both the pilgrimages. Number of the yatris visiting the two shrines has gone down considerably during the bandh. Meanwhile, BJP Ministers and leaders including Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, Speaker Kavinder Gupta, Health and Medical Education Minister Lal Singh, party president Jugal Kishore Sharma and senior leader Ashok Koul met today to discuss the party strategy in view of the ongoing bandh in Jammu. Some of the BJP leaders also met the Mahant of Purani Mandi temple later.