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Day Two: Curfew continues in Jammu city

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Despite curfew, residential quarters of government employees targeted in Janipur

Army personnel patrol Gujjar Nagar area in Jammu on Saturday as curfew remained imposed in the city. Photo/KI

Jammu, Feb 16: The curfew in Jammu continued for the second day even as the Army’s presence was stepped up on Saturday.

Nine more Army columns were deployed in the city, bringing the total to 18 columns, and the force staged flag marches in sensitive localities.

Officials said the University of Jammu postponed all examinations scheduled for the day and mobile Internet services remained suspended across Jammu region.

Srinagar-bound vehicles stranded on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway due to a landslide in Ramban were allowed to move forward amid tight security arrangements, they said.

“The curfew is being implemented strictly and there is no report of any untoward incident from anywhere,” Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jammu-Samba-Kathua range, Vivek Gupta said.

Deputy Commissioner (Jammu) Ramesh Kumar said authorities were monitoring the situation and a decision to relax the curfew, which was imposed Friday, would be taken later in the day.

The Army was conducting flag marches in sensitive localities of the city on Saturday, the officials said.

A defence spokesperson said the Army on Saturday deployed nine more security columns with air support to help the administration to maintain law and order in the entire city. Nine Internal Security Columns (ISCs) of the Army were deployed on Friday.

“Helicopters and UAVs of the Army also put into operation to monitor the situation.  The proactive approach jointly taken by J&K Police, Civil administration (Divisional Commissioner and District Collector’s office) and Indian Army has ensured the situation in control,” the spokesman said.

The city was rocked by anti-Pakistan protests during a general strike called by the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI).

People took to the streets to denounce the attack and also held candlelight rallies to pay homage to the slain CRPF personnel. There was violence at several places including Gujjar Nagar, Shahidi Chowk, Janipur, Purani Mandi, Pacca Danga, Rehari, Residency Road, New Plot, Gummat, Prem Nagar and Narwal. Nine people, including some policemen, were injured in stone-pelting incidents on Friday and scores of vehicles belonging to a particular community were torched.

The JCCI termed the violence “unfortunate” and said, “We shall not allow miscreants to disturb the brotherhood and peace in Jammu where all the religions have coexisted.” It said the bandh would not be extended.

Inspector General of Police (Jammu) M K Sinha appealed to the people not to play into the hands of anti-national elements who want to disturb the societal harmony.

A police official said high-speed mobile data services were barred in Jammu region, while the BSNL broadband service was functioning normally.

The situation in curfew-bound areas is under control, District Magistrate Ramesh Kumar said Saturday, asserting that strict action would be taken against those involved in incidents of violence in the city.

He told reporters that police had started investigation to identify the people involved in the sporadic incidents of violence on Friday during protests against the Pulwama attack.

He said some people had suffered minor injuries in incidents of stone-pelting between rival groups and a number of vehicles were also damaged at different locations.

“Strict action will be taken against those responsible for the violence. No leniency will be shown to them,” the district magistrate said.

“Anybody found spreading rumours will be dealt with sternly. Nobody will be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere and create hatred,” he said.

Kumar said the curfew is being implemented strictly and people are appealed to stay indoors and cooperate with the law enforcing agencies.

“The situation is under control and there is no report of any untoward incident from anywhere,” he said.

Meanwhile, despite curfew, a number of quarters belonging to Kashmiris were attacked once again today in Janipur area, reports said.

News gathering agency GNS reported that they received several distress calls from the Janipur residents alleging they were attacked by the frenzied mobs in presence of policemen.

“The mobs entered inside the premises and attacked quarters of Kashmiris while police remained a mute spectator,” they said, according to GNS.

The residents of Janipur housing colony said they were attacked three times since the morning by mobs, even as they accused the police of not being tough on the miscreants.

“Mobs attacked us at around 8 am, then around 10 am and then again at around 12:30 pm. They pelted stones at our quarters and threatened to set ablaze our vehicles, which are parked on the roadside. They were shouting and abusing, asking us to leave,” residents said.

Police however said that they have brought the situation under control.

“We used baton-charge and fired tear-gas shells to disperse the mob. The situation is under control as necessary personnel have been deployed,” police said.

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