August 2001 News

Protests in Jammu, curfew extended to Udhampur

8 August 2001
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: As the entire Jammu region continued to be tense in the wake of yesterday''s militant attack on the Jammu railway station, authorities today extended the indefinite curfew proclaimed in Jammu to Udhampur The Army was deployed in the minority areas, and in Rajouri, police opened fire to disperse a mob protesting the militant incident In Doda and Bhaderwah, curfew was reimposed . Though the situation in Jammu is under control, there is palpable tension and the Army has been pressed into service to prevent any backlash in the Muslim-majority areas of Talab Khatikan and Gujjar Nagar. Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in strength. The Inspector-General, Jammu zone, Mr. R. V. Raju, said the situation was well under control. In Udhampur town, a procession was taken out in the morning but the authorities immediately imposed an indefinite curfew. The Kathua, Samba and Reasi areas witnessed a complete shutdown. The situation took a violent turn in the Rajouri district headquarters where people from the minority community took to the streets and began attacking the areas of the majority community. Police stopped them yet the mob damaged the office of the tehsildar. After resorting to lathicharge and bursting teargas shells, police opened fire to disperse the mob. Tempers ran high. Curfew was reimposed in Doda and Kishtwar towns after reports of increasing tension came in. Curfew had been imposed in these towns on Sunday after the massacre of 15 Hindus in Atholi areas but was lifted last evening. Toll is 11 With another wounded passenger dying of injuries in hospital today, the toll in the railway station shootout has gone up to 11. The condition of at least nine injured is said to be critical. The deceased include four security personnel, three men and two women. Train services have resumed and the security arrangements have been further tightened in and around the station. The Union Minister of State for Home, Mr. I. D. Swami, arrived in Jammu to take stock of the situation. Security lapse? Meanwhile, the question agitating people''s minds is whether there was any security lapse at the Jammu railway station. Except for strong contingents of police patrolling the station round-the- clock, no serious measures have been taken so far to make the security arrangements foolproof. Refuting allegations that security was lax, the IGP, Crime and Railways, Mr. Masood Chowdary, said even the strength of policemen present there was more than needed. But it was a problem of regulating the arrangements. The station was spread over 2 km. and no side was fenced. The matter had been taken up with the Railway Ministry but no action was taken. Another official said the Railway Board had not moved an inch in this direction. Governor condemns killings UNI reports: Condemning the killings, the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Mr. G. C. Saxena, said the militants had again proved they had no respect for human values and were only pawns in the hands of Pakistan. ''Pakistan cannot succeed in its nefarious designs through senseless killings which should be condemned by every right thinking person.'' The Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, in his message, said, ''no amount of such bloodshed can weaken our determination to fight terrorism unitedly with courage and fortitude.'' Expressing anguish over the series of massacres that had occurred after the Agra summit, he said the militants, at the behest of their mentors ''across the border'', were picking soft targets. Outrageous: APHC In New Delhi, the All-Party Hurriyat Conference condemned the shootout and termed it outrageous. ''This is outrageous and we strongly condemn it. Whosoever has committed the heinous crime should be brought to book,'' the senior Hurriyat leaders, Mr. Abdul Gani Lone and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said. ''This is an act against humanity and is now happening more often,'' they said.


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