Rajouri Flare-UP: Reverberations In The Valley
Communal Violence in Rajouri followed by curfew
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government Thursday foiled the opposition from visiting the communally-tense Rajouri town, even as a conglomerate of prominent industry bodies in the Valley called for a 'Kashmir Bandh' on Saturday.
The cavalcade of a National Conference delegation led by provincial president, Devender Singh Rana, was halted at Bamla by the district administration and prevented from moving towards Rajouri town, where situation remains tense, despite efforts of the state government to bring normalcy.
Accusing the coalition government of being "hand-in-glove" with the VHP activists, who sparked the unrest, Rana said "mischievous actors" have been given a "free-hand" to polarise the two regions of the state - Jammu and Kashmir - along communal lines.
"PDP and BJP are hand-in-glove with each other in Rajouri. Peace efforts have been scuttled to give a free hand to mischievous political actors who are igniting the volatile situation, rather than calming it down," Rana said.
“It is undemocratic; the government is fearing that once we go there, its sinister machinations will get exposed,” he said.
Tempers flared up in Rajouri on Tuesday when VHP activists torched the flag of Islamic State with Kalima-e-Tayyeba handwritten on it after which members of the Muslim community, particularly youths, staged protests, seeking their arrest.
However, the J&K's deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader, Nirmal Singh, ruled out arresting the accused activists, saying burning the flag of a "terrorist organisation" is an "act of nationalism."
Condemning the lack of action against the VHP activists, the industry bodies including the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (INC) and its affiliates, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation and Kashmir Economic Alliance called for a strike on Saturday.
“The reprehensible events in Rajouri have shaken the faith of people and business fraternity in the system of administration followed in J&K. These are attempts .... to disrupt peace between the communities who have the age old history of brotherhood and community living,” a joint statement issued by the industry bodies said.
"We have been noting the overtones of the vested interest raised either by claiming establishment of AIIMS, IIT, IIM or dislodging people from different areas of the state on the pretext of reclaiming the forest land and creating feud between the communities by desecrating the articles of their faith,” the statement said.
“In protest we unanimously therefore declare Kashmir Bandh to be observed by one and all on Saturday the 25th of July, 2015. We also appeal all the socio-religious organizations to support the Bandh call in the interest of integrity of the state of J&K,” it noted.
Since Tuesday, agitated protesters demanding the arrest of VHP activists have been clashing with a heavy deployment of troopers in the town by pelting stones at them, prompting the Army to stage a flag march on Wednesday.