Giving a new twist to the violent clashes between Sikhs and police over the removal of a hoarding carrying the photograph of Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, some miscreants stabbed a constable and fled with his AK47 rifle on Thursday night, forcing the civil administration to close all educational institutions in most parts of otherwise peaceful Jammu region.
Identifying the injured constable as Joginder Pal of Mirpur in Kathua district, sources said that he was posted as Personal Security Officer (PSO) with Deputy Superintendent of Police (East) Mohammad Rafiq. A mob of Sikh protestors, demonstrating over the killing of a youth from the community in police firing, pounched upon him at Digiana late on Thursday night and stabbed him. During the melee, someone in the mob fled away with his AK 47 rifle.
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This has been the second stabbing incident of a policeman since Wednesday. Earlier a Sikh youth had stabbed a sub-inspector at Gaddigarh. Identified as SI Arun Sharma, incharge of Gaddigarh police post, he is undergoing treatment at the hospital
Keeping in view the highly volatile situation, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh, has imposed curfew in areas falling between Satwari to Miran Sahib which has a considerable population of Sikhs and where the violent protests had been going on since Wednesday. Apart from this, prohibitory orders banning the assembly of four or more persons under section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code have been imposed in rest of Jammu district.
As a precautionary measure, the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Dr Pawan Dev Kotwal, too has ordered closure of all educational institutions in various parts of Jammu region. These areas include Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajouri and Poonch districts which also have population of Sikhs.
Meanwhile, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee too has in a letter to the state government has condemned police action regarding removal of the hoarding carrying the photograph of Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale. Accusing police of mishandling the situation and allowing it to go out of control, it has demanded suspension of SSP Jammu, Uttam Chand and SHO Satwari Kulvir Singh.
The hoarding carrying the photograph of Bhindrawale was put up near Jammu airport by Sikh Noujwan Sabha to inform the general public about the holding of a Gurmat Samagam at Simbal Camp on June 6. The hoarding was removed by police as it carried the photograph of Bhindrawale who had been killed in Op Blue Star for spearheading anti-India militancy in Punjab.
The police action angered Sikh youth in Gaddigarh and Ranibagh areas as they claimed that they had been displaying the similar hoarding and organizing the function every year to pay tributes to those killed during Op Blue Star. The initially peaceful protests turned violent on Wednesday afternoon when many among the protestors started brandishing sharp edged weapons. One of them even stabbed a police sub inspector who was incharge of Gaddigarh police post.