The raging controversy over beef ban in Jammu and Kashmir triggered communal tension in the state’s Udhampur district on Thursday, forcing the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led government to suspend mobile internet services for the second time in the region within less than a month. The mobile internet services remained suspended for almost five hours, and were restored only in the evening.
Trouble erupted in Chenani town over recovery of carcasses of three cows in the morning at two places near the Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s office.
As the word spread, shopkeepers downed shutters and a large number of people took to the streets. As the crowd swelled, traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was blocked.
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Amid tension in Chenani, word spread about carcass of a cow being allegedly found inside the water tank of a Shiva temple at Garhi in the district. The news immediately triggered protests in the area.
With pictures of the demonstrations and carcasses being circulated on WhatsApp, the state government stepped in by the afternoon to ask all cellular operators to suspend internet services on mobile phones and data cards.
The broadband services, however, remained unaffected during the five-hour crackdown. Earlier, all internet services, including broadband, had remained suspended in the state for three days during Eid.
Jammu’s Divisional Commissioner Pawan Kotwal said that the move was a precautionary measure as some people were spreading false information to create communal tension.
Senior civil and police officers, along with reinforcements of police and paramilitary personnel, were also rushed to both the places to maintain order.
The carcass in the temple’s water tank at Garhi — where some Muslim residents are reportedly engaged in a dispute over a piece of temple land with its management — later turned out to be that of a dog. In the past, too, pieces of flesh had been found inside the temple’s water tank.