‘5 shops, 3 vehicles torched, 36 injured in day long clashes’
Jammu/Rajouri, Aug 10: Arson and communal tension spread to Jammu and Rajouri of Jammu and Kashmir late tonight after which curfew was imposed in both the districts as authorities braced to contain the fallout of violence in Kishtwar district on Friday.
There were no immediate reports of casualties in Jammu and Rajouri but authorities confirmed that the situation was very tense and rumor mongers were adding fuel to fire.
Eyewitnesses said that activists of right wing organsiations, VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal, assembled at New Plot, late last evening, and torched at least five shops in the area. However, Divisional Commissioner Shant Manu said that only an attempt was made to torch the shops, which was foiled by the police.
The violent mob also clashed with police leaving at least 10 persons, 7 of them cops, injured.
The activists protested throughout the day across Jammu, Kathua, Samba and Udhampur. They fought pitched battles with the police at City Chowk and round civil secretariat Jammu area for more than 6 hours, leaving scores of police personnel injured.
To support the bandh call, given by BJP and other right wing organizations, hundreds of protesters assembled at City Chowk.
The protesters also made unsuccessful attempt to march towards Khantika Talab, a Muslim majority areas in the city.
As they were stopped by the police, protesters resorted to stone pelting. The clash continued for several hours, before the protesters dispersed peacefully.
Tension gripped Gujjar Nagar locality when a bus driver ran pleading help from the locals. “My bus was chased by some Bajrang Dal activists carrying swords and hockey sticks and I somehow managed to flee and park my vehicle in Gujjar Nagar area”, the bus driver told Greater Kashmir.
Eyewitnesses said that the local youth caught hold of at least two persons, who were allegedly chasing the bus, and gave them severe thrashing.
Senior police officers, including Deputy Inspector General of Police Shakeel Beg, rushed to the spot and defused the situation.
There were also repots that miscreants set a vehicle on fire at Rehari Chowk, while a passenger bus was set ablaze in Kachi Chawni area.
Fearing spread of violence, especially after BJP and other organizations extended Jammu Bandh call for 72 hours, the administration imposed curfew in the city. “Almost all parts of the city would remain under curfew and adequate security arrangements have been made to ensure peace”, DC Jammu, AK Sahu told Greater Kashmir.
There were also repots that miscreants set a vehicle on fire on Jammu-Pathankote highway at Vijaypur.
Curfew imposed in Rajouri
Curfew was imposed in Rajouri township following clash between a particular community and police.
Official sources said that large number of people took to streets and staged noisy protest demonstration after reports that some miscreants have pelted stones on a Madrasa and a Masjid on Rajouri outskirts.
The protesters clashed with police when they reached at Jawahar Nagar. Police used baton charge and fired teargas shells to quell the mob.
However, sensing gravity of situation, district administration immediately imposed curfew in the entire township.
Army also staged flag march at some sensitive places. “We have imposed curfew as preventive measure and to ensure that violence do not spread in other areas”DC Rajouri FC Bhagat told Greater Kashmir.
Earlier in the morning, protesters, mainly activists from BJP and Bajrang Dal, blocked the Jammu-Poonch highway and burnt tyres at Sailani bridge, Muradpur, Bathooni, Kallar, Sunderbani, Noushera and other places on Saturday.
At Sunderbani and Siot, protesters damaged three Tata Sumos ferrying passengers from Poonch to Jammu, but no injuries were reported.
“No violence has been reported in the entire district, except for damage to three small passenger vehicles in Sunderbani,” a senior police officer claimed.