At least 50 hurt in Jammu violence, mobs go on rampage

20 August 2008
The Hindustan Times

Jammu: Mobs went on a rampage in many parts of this winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir and its adjoining areas as they set afire government buildings, including a police post, and repeatedly clashed with security forces during the final day of their court arrest campaign in Jammu. At least 50 people were injured. The agitators set ablaze a portion of the Sarwal police post and a government residential building opposite Gandhi Nagar police station. At least 50 people, including a dozen policemen, were injured in the clashes between the police and stone throwing mobs in several parts of Jammu city and the border town of Akhnoor. At many places, children led by parents forced their entry into the police stations and offered themselves for arrest. Late Tuesday evening, the authorities had warned the people not to allow their children to come out to court arrest. 'This is illegal,' said an official spokesman. But, the warning failed to deter the protesters. There was no let up in the violence despite curfew and army on the streets. Curfew was clamped on Tuesday night on the entire Jammu city, having a population of one million people. Army has been called out to keep the situation under control. At some places, the agitators roamed freely. The police fired teargas shells at many places, but that failed to deter the protesters. The state government had transferred a 40-hectare plot of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board but later withdrew the transfer following protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley. The revocation July 1 ignited an agitation in the Hindu majority Jammu region. The Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti, spearheading the agitation for the past nearly two months, had given a call for a three-day programme of 'jail bharo' or courting arrest, and Wednesday was the turn of children after men courted arrest Monday and women Tuesday. Over 350,000 people had offered themselves for arrest, according to a spokesman of Sangarsh Samiti, while the official estimates put it slightly less than 100,000.