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Curfew imposed as tensions flare up in Jammu

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Army stages flag marches; Sajad Lone appeals Jammu to uphold tenets of tolerance, brotherhood

Vehicles belonging to Kashmiris set on fire in Jammu Friday. Photo/Kashmir Images

Jammu/Srinagar: Curfew was imposed in Jammu city Friday and the Army conducted flag marches in sensitive areas following massive protests and incidents of stone-pelting and arson over the Pulwama attack in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.

Internet was shutdown in Jammu as a precautionary measure, officials said.

Defying curfew, angry people took out rallies against the attack and police had to resort to cane-charge to disperse the protestors at Residency Road, Kachi Chawani and Dogra hall areas, while a shutdown was observed in the city.

Scores of vehicles were set afire in Gujjar Nagar and Residency Road other areas, while several others were overturned and damaged by protesters.

The curfew was imposed in Jammu city as authorities feared a communal backlash, the officials said.

Divisional Commissioner Sanjay Verma said the administration had called for the Army’s help which conducted flag marches in Gujjar Nagar, Shaheedi Chowk areas.

Verma said additional forces were deployed in sensitive areas.

As per reports, the violence was triggered when a rally was being held in Gujjar Nagar area and some people threw bricks on the protesters from rooftops.

Purported videos of stone-pelting from the rooftops and burning of vehicles went viral on social media.

Police teams rushed to the spot and resorted to teargas shelling and cane-charge to disperse angry protestors.

Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI) had Thursday called for a shutdown in Jammu in protest against the killing of CRPF personnel in the militant attack.

A complete shutdown was observed in Jammu, with no traffic plying on roads and all shops and markets remaining closed, officials said.

Massive anti-Pakistan protests were held at Jewel Chowk, Purani Mundi, Rehari, Shaktinagar, Pacca Danga, Janipur, Gandhinagar,  Bakshinagar, Muthi, Talal Tilloo and Satwari among other areas.

Raising anti-Pakistan and anti-militant slogans, the protestors burnt tyres and placed barricades on several roads.

Led by Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and Dogra Front, the people also took out candlelight marches in the city and held protests.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Jammu, suspended work in all courts in the city, including the High Court and tribunals, as a mark of respect and to express solidarity with the bereaved families.

Meanwhile, several Kashmiri families residing at Janipur housing colony said that they were feeling unsafe as violent mobs were pelting their houses with stones.

Meanwhile, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone Friday said the act of bravery in the aftermath of the savage attack on CRPF personnel would be to give a united response as opposed to falling into the trap of the perpetrators of this attack.

Terming Pulwama suicide attack as an attempt to disrupt peace and communal harmony of J&K, Lone in a party press release here made a passionate appeal to the people and civil society of Jammu for upholding the tenets of tolerance and brotherhood in the wake of dastardly attack on CRPF convoy yesterday.

“There have been some stray incidents of clashes in some parts of Jammu. The onus of living up to the credentials of tolerance is on the people of Jammu. I hope social and political activists in Jammu understand the challenge they face in ensuring that thousands of guests there stay on with love and compassion,” he said.

Sajad Lone said that lakhs of Kashmiris work tirelessly and earnestly to strengthen the roots of democracy and maintain peace and communal harmony in the state and the loss of lives in yesterday’s attack is equally tragic for them.

“There are thousands of Kashmiri policemen in Jammu doing their duty, risking and sacrificing their lives almost on a daily basis. There are lakhs of political workers from Kashmir doing what it takes to make our state a vibrant democracy. Those who try to attack them have to introspect and ask themselves as to how the loss of lives in yesterday’s attack is a bigger tragedy for them and lesser tragedy for those who work with same force on a daily basis,” he added.

Appealing people of entire state to unite against attempts to pit one region against other, Sajad Lone said that it is time to uphold the tradition of tolerance and amity rather than exploit sentiments on emotional issues.

“This is not the time to define who sacrificed more. But shouting, scaring or threatening women children or civilians certainly doesn’t add up to a sacrifice,” he added.

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