Nearly seven hours after its imposition, curfew in border Poonch town was lifted this evening as members of both communities agreed to maintain calm after the administration assured them action as per law against auto-rickshaw driver who allegedly slapped a girl yesterday.
As both the auto driver and the girl belonged to different communities, the incident had led to tension in the town with members of one community giving a bandh call in the town if police did not arrest the accused within 12 hours. The deadline expired at 7 am today with police unable to trace the absconding auto driver.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Shantmanu, who along with Inspector General of Police Rajesh Kumar had rushed to Poonch from Jammu, said that the curfew has been lifted as the matter stand sorted out following meetings with members of both the communities. The police are looking for absconding auto driver and he will be arrested soon, he added.
Minister for Housing, Horticulture and Culture, Raman Bhalla, too had rushed to the town after trouble broke out there in the morning. During the entire day, Bhalla along with senior civil and police officers continued holding meetings with members of both the communities in order to bring rapprochement between them.
Earlier in the morning, as police could not apprehend the auto driver within the given deadline, the agitating community members started coming on the roads forcing closure of business establishments and raising blockades for vehicular traffic by burning tyres on the roads.
The situation became volatile after some youth belonging to one community pelted stones from inside a religion school on a procession by other community on the outskirts of Poonch town. As one of the precisionist got injured in stone pelting, the processionists damaged some motorcycles and smashed the wind screens of various vehicles there.
Fearing more trouble, the administration immediately imposed curfew in the town.
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.