Muslim organisations Saturday observed partial to near total bandh in Chenab Valley region to protest against Vijayadashami processions by RSS activists.
Traffic was thin and private schools run by Muslims were shut, but government educational institutes and offices remained open.
While the bandh in Kishtwar and Banihal was near total in areas inhabited by Muslims, it was partial in Doda and Bhaderwah. Hindus, comprising 45 per cent of the region’s population, however, kept their establishments open at all places.
The call for bandh was given by Majlis-e-Shoura, Kishtwar, and Seerat Committee, Doda, headed by Farooq Ahmed Kitchloo and Khalid Najib Suharwardy, respectively.
The Vijayadashami processions were held without incident this year, unlike in 2015 when activists put firearms on show and raised provocative slogans in some areas. RSS sources told The Indian Express that though Shastra Pooja was held at all places, local cadres did not carry weapons this time amid unrest after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.
However, the processions evoked sharp reactions at some places. In Doda town, Muslims Wednesday took out a tazia procession for the first time in two decades. In Kishtwar, an imam questioned the administration over allowing the Vijayadashami processions at a time when gatherings have the potential to snowball into a law and order problem.
Congress MLA from Inderwal (Kishtwar), Ghulam Mohammad Saroori, criticised the state government for allowing the processions, saying that RSS marches have the potential to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in the state.
However, Jammu DC Pawan Kotwal said there was no tension in the Chenab Valley region.