Kishtwar and several towns of Jammu division were roiled by protests Friday as passions ran high a day after J&K BJP secretary Anil Parihar and his brother were shot dead by unidentified gunmen. Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh was heckled and his car targeted by an angry crowd when he showed up for the cremation of the Parihar brothers.
As the Army staged a flag march in Kishtwar town and authorities struggled to enforce curfew, police detained two personal security officers (PSOs) posted for Parihar’s safety. Sources said the PSOs were being questioned why they were not with Parihar Thursday night when he was attacked.
Authorities spent much of Friday trying to nip any communal flare-up while angry protesters, raising slogans that threatened vengeance, confronted Jitendra Singh: “Aap ne kis ke bharose par hamei yahan chhorah hai… Jahan par Hinduon ko chun-chun ke mara ja raha hai, aap log kya kar rahe ho (Who have you assigned for our safety… Hindus are being singled out and killed, what are you doing?).
As Singh headed to his car, the crowd followed, heckled him and began banging his car. Some women tried to sit on the road to block his car. Security personnel stepped in and cleared a passage for Singh to exit. Assuming that he had gone to the Dak Bungalow, the crowd followed him and staged a sit-in at the main entrance to the building where senior officers, including the Jammu IGP, were present.
Army personnel cordoned off the area and made announcements asking the crowd to to leave in view of the curfew.
Meanwhile, Anil Parihar’s cousin Ranjit Parihar alleged that a local resident had passed information to the assailants on the BJP leader’s whereabouts and they had waited for him at the end of a lane before gunning him down and fleeing.
Police have not yet identified the assailants and are questioning Parihar’s PSOs who did not accompany him Thursday night. Sources said it is suspected that the killings were carried out by two men.
Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner Angrez Singh Rana told The Indian Express that he had been repeatedly asking politicians to take along the PSOs posted for their safety. In the case of Parihar, Rana said, the PSOs were not accompanying him.
PTI adds: Protests were reported in Jammu, Reasi, Udhampur, Ramban, Kathua, Bhaderwah and Samba areas of the region. In Jammu city, BJP and BJYM workers thronged various roads in Kachichawani, Trikuta Nagar, Rehari and Bohri areas and blocked traffic for brief periods. They set ablaze tyres and raised anti-Pakistan slogans demanding elimination of the terrorists involved in the killings.
Protests were also reported in Bhaderwah, Udhampur, Reasi, Katra, Chenani, Samba, Kathua, Akhnoor, R S Pura and Basholi areas. There was a shutdown in old Jammu city and various other places in the region.