With fresh incidents of communal clashes and arson being reported on Sunday,curfew was extended to more areas of Jammu region on Sunday. Meanwhile,the state government made violence-hit Kishtwar out of bounds for politicians,detaining BJP leader Arun Jaitley at the Jammu airport. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah alleged that some politicians were trying to escalate the situation in a bid to polarise the population and reap electoral gains.
In Kishtwar,the epicentre of the communal clashes which began on Friday,one more body was found even as the area remained under curfew for the third consecutive day on Sunday. While officials said the cause of the death was yet to be ascertained,the toll has now risen to three.
Besides Kishtwar,curfew has been extended to Jammu,Doda,Kathua,Samba,Udhampur,Reasi,Rajouri districts in Jammu region. In Kashmir,the situation is reported to be tense in 10 districts with separatists having called for a bandh.
While curfew was imposed in Rajouri last night following incidents of stone-pelting at a place of worship,Jammu Divisional Commissioner Shantmanu said Jammu and the towns falling on the national highway were placed under curfew as a precautionary measure. Prohibitory orders have been imposed in the border town of Poonch.
Even as the Army has been called in,over a dozen people were reported to have been injured in fresh clashes with the police in Jammu and its outskirts. Four shops were torched last night. Incidents of stone-pelting were reported from various parts of Jammu city including City Chowk,Purani Mandi,Moti Bazar,Kachi Chowani,New Plot and Paloura.
The government has suspended mobile internet services and asked the local TV networks not to telecast news programmes till further orders. With most parts of Jammu region under curfew,the Amarnath yatra has also been suspended.
Meanwhile,Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was detained as he arrived at the Jammu airport this morning,drawing sharp reaction from BJP which termed the action as undemocratic. Jaitley finally caught the flight back to Delhi in the evening. BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab Avinash Rai Khanna,who was to accompany Jaitley to Kishtwar along with state BJP president Jugal Kishore,was also detained at Lakhanpur and sent back to Punjab.
Without naming any political party,Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,who visited Jammu in the afternoon,said: Their entire aim seems to be to re-create the conditions of 2008 (Amarnath agitation) so that they can exploit it in the subsequent parliament (polls) and then the assembly elections.
He said he had spoken to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. I asked her to tell their people in the region to maintain calm and not to flare up the issue, he said.
He said the bid to polarise people had not succeeded so far. But that has not stopped them from trying. Otherwise,what would be the justification for these people to rush to Jammu? Do they rush to any other place? I can name incidents of communal riots in other states in this year itself. Have they been to those areas? said the CM.
He said no politician would be allowed to visit Kishtwar or any other troubled area because it would cause more tension between the two communities. Some political parties in such situations keep political benefits above human interests, he said
Replying to a question,he said he does not,however,blame any political party for the initial clashes in Kishtwar on Friday.
Meanwhile,criticising the government for inaction,the BJP boycotted the all-party meeting convened by Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand in Jammu this evening.
With Mir Ehsan in Srinagar and PTI inputs