Updated: August 17, 2016 2:38:38 am
Three days after a grenade attack hurt 15 at Poonch town, communal tension erupted in Mandi area of the border district following a clash between some of the Buddha Amarnath pilgrims and local Muslims on Tuesday afternoon.
Trouble erupted when some pilgrims raised provocative slogans and local Muslim youth to raise counter provocative slogans. Reports reaching Jammu said that the situation in Mandi which had only Muslim population was highly surcharged with even the Poonch district Superintendent of Police, J S Johar, allegedly manhandled and some vehicles damaged by locals.
Giving details, sources said that Chhari Mubarak (holy mace of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati) was accorded a warm reception by local Muslims when it reached Buddha Amarnath shrine at Mandi from Poonch town around noon. However, trouble erupted when some pilgrims later went to the bazaar and raised slogans like “Bharat Mein Rehna Hooga, Vandematram Kehna Hoga” or “Bharat Mein Rehna Hoga, Ram Ram Kehna Hoga”.
Some elderly Muslims initially tried to stop them, but as they did not listen, local Muslim youth assembled and started raising pro-Azadi slogans. This rose tempers on both sides and they even had a scuffle. However, the sitaution was saved by local police and para military personnel who intervened and separated both the groups. However, in the process, some window pances and wind screen of some vehicles got broken.
The incident led to tension in Mandi town with locals closing their business establishments in protest. The news spread and local Muslims at Sathra and Nangali also downed their shutters and started holding demonstrations.
Senior civil and police offiacers rushed to Mandi and held a meeting of local people to defuse the situation. However, as tempers were running high, some local youth allegedly manhandled the SP during the meeting after later allegedly slapped one of them.
With more reinforcements rushed to Mandi from Poonch, situation was stated to be under control. Buddha Amarnath yatra will conclude on Raksha Bandan falling on August 18.
Only on Saturday evening, fiften people, many of them pilgrims on their way to the Buddha Amarnath shrine, were injured in a blast outside a bus stand in Poonch town. Police suspect that a hand grenade was hurled at pilgrims.
The blast had come a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a strong message to Pakistan, indicting it for fomenting trouble in Kashmir. He told an all-party meeting that “when we talk about Jammu and Kashmir, we should talk about Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.”
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