JAMMU ON THE BOIL
NEW DELHI: With indefinite curfew clamped in various parts of the city on Friday, all institutions closed down till Saturday, Section 144 imposed in the entire city and Sikh protesters defying orders and blocking the Jammu-Pathankot highway, Jammu is simmering with tension.
Trouble began on Thursday morning when the Sikhs found out that posters carrying pictures of Sikh militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, put up by an organization of the community ahead of his death anniversary on June 6, were removed from the Rani Bagh area. Within minutes, hundreds of Sikh youth assembled in the area in protest. The protesters, armed with sticks and 'kirpans', converged on Ranibagh-Gadigarh belt on Satwari-RS Pura road and blocked traffic demanding action against the police officer who removed the posters.
The demonstration soon turned violent and the mob started pelting stones with the police responding by cane-charging and teargas shelling in Satwari area of the city. As a result of the firing by the police, a youth identified as Jagjit Singh was killed nad atleast six others were injured. Two policemen were also injured during the clashes.
Heavy contingent of police as well as the army rushed in to restore order.
According to SSP Jammu Uttam Chand, protesters turned violent and attacked cops with petrol bombs and sharp edged weapons (Kirpans), forcing police to open fire.
“We are investigating the incident and facts would come out,” Chand said.
Further, the police said that some of the protestors, raising slogans against the government and the police also tried to block the Jammu-Pathankot highway at Satwari on Thursday as well. There were reports that some also raised pro-Khalistan slogans.
Indefinite curfew was clamped down immediately following the incident. Schools and colleges in Jammu are to remain close till Saturday to avert any untoward incidents.
The Army staged flag march in parts of the city as the situation remained tense.
Further, Section 144 was imposed which bars gathering of more than four persons at a place, in various parts of the city.
However, defying orders, Sikh protesters on Friday blocked the Jammu-Pathankot highway.
Meanwhile, tensions in Jammu have spilled over to Amritsar as well.
A red-alert has been sounded in the town by the security agencies based on a protest call given by the hardliner Sikh organisations on the eve of the anniversary of Operation Blue Star (OBS).
Sikh groups will be taking out a march to mark the occasion.
"The march has been dedicated to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and others. A shutdown will also be observed on June 6 to protest against the Army action," All India Sikh Students Federation president, Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad said.
Over 1,000 jawans have been deployed to deal with the situation. The police also organised a flag march in the city and CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the Golden Temple complex.
Additionally, a protest rally was also held at Srinagar on Friday over the death of the Sikh youth in the Jammu clashes between the police and protesters.
The protesters, carrying posters of Bhindranwale, raised slogans in favour of him and Khalistan. They also demanded the arrest of police officials who opened fire on Thursday in Jammu.