Bandh Enters Day 5 As Some Business Markets Re-open

4 August 2015
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: A bandh was observed in Jammu for fifth consecutive day today but some markets in the City opened defying the shutdown call given by the AIIMS Coordination Committee demanding full-fledged and independent AIIMS for Jammu. The CC activists and shopkeepers clashed at Samba and Bhore Camp in Satwari. Barring these two incidents, bandh, by and large remained peaceful. For the first time during five days, three major markets in the City including Hari Market, Ware House and Kanak Mandi opened this morning with traders defying the bandh call and resuming their normal business. Initially the AIIMS CC chairman Abhinav Sharma and later Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rakesh Gupta visited Hari Market to persuade the traders to close their shops but they refused to oblige them and kept their shops open. In Ware House and Kanak Mandi, some shopkeepers downed their shutters in the afternoon after keeping them open in the morning while other shops remained open. In Shastri Nagar, Nanak Nagar and Satwari Cantonment also, several shopkeepers resumed their usual business. Rest of the localities in Jammu City, outskirts and peripheries observed peaceful bandh. In the evening, several shops were open. The AIIMS CC activists including Samba Bar Association representatives and Beopar Mandal Samba leaders clashed with each other at Chohata Bazaar when the CC leaders asked them to close the shops. It may be mentioned here that shopkeepers in Samba had reopened their shops yesterday after observing bandh for first three days. As the scuffle aggravated, police intervened and separated both the groups. The CC activists and the Beopar Mandal later lodged counter FIRs against each other at Samba police station under Sections 341, 323, 504 and 506 RPC. However, entire Samba town and Bari Brahmana town in Samba district remained open while Vijaypur town observed bandh. Trouble also erupted in Bhour Camp area under the jurisdiction of Satwari police station this afternoon when pro and anti bandh protesters clashed over opening of shops. An AIIMS CC activist Sourabh Sharma son of Jagmohan Sharma, a resident of Bhour Camp was stabbed on his back by some youths causing him grievous injuries. He was admitted in Gandhi Nagar hospital. Police have registered a case in this connection and was searching the accused. At Malik Market on Narwal Bypass also, police averted a clash between bandh supporters and opponents. As shopkeepers refused to down their shutters, there were heated exchanges between the two groups. Police parties led by SDPO Mohammad Rafiq rushed to the spot and dispersed both the groups. Shops remained open. In Akhnoor town, over 50 activists of AIIMS and Congress were arrested when they tried to take out procession in the town defying prohibitory orders clamped under Municipal limits of all tehsils of Jammu district. They were released in the evening. Despite yesterday's order by the Director School Education asking the Chief Education Officers to ensure complete attendance in Government schools, most of the schools remained closed in the absence of staff and students, who couldn't make it to the educational institutions due to non availability of commercial transport, which remained off the roads for fifth consecutive day today. No incident of stone pelting was reported from any part of the City and outskirts today. Police and CRPF had normal day today, like yesterday, when no major incident of violence was reported. Shops, business establishments, majority of educational institutions including Jammu University and Colleges and some offices of both Centre and State Governments remained closed for fifth day today though some of the private and Government schools and offices functioned normally, albeit with thin attendance. The Government offices, which were open in the City, were deserted in the absence of visitors as commercial vehicles like buses, matadors, three-wheelers, taxis etc stayed off the roads. Only private vehicles were seen plying on the roads. Contrary to four previous days, the bandh organizers today didn't burn tyres or raise any kind of road blockades to disrupt movement of private vehicles. Commercial vehicles were not seen on any of the National Highways though movement of private vehicles was normal. In fact, buses and taxis in Jammu didn't come out of their stands for fifth consecutive day. The bandh was nearly complete in Jammu City, its outskirts and peripheral areas barring some of the markets, which remained open throughout the day and some other markets, which re-opened in the evening. Police and CRPF had been deployed in adequate numbers at various places to check any untoward incident. Shops and business establishments were closed in Jammu while all modes of commercial transport were off the roads. Private vehicles plied normally. The bandh organizers hadn't raised road blockades anywhere to disrupt movement of private vehicles. The second 72 hours bandh call given by the CC on Sunday will expire tomorrow evening. The CC will announce future course of decision tomorrow evening. The pilgrims of Mata Vaishno Devi ji and Shri Amarnath ji shrines continued to suffer very badly due to the bandh call, leading to sharp decline in both the pilgrimages. Number of the yatris visiting the two shrines has gone down considerably during the bandh. All major towns in Kathua district observed bandh today. Udhampur and Reasi towns also observed bandh. Majority of shops in these towns remained closed and commercial traffic was off. However, local traffic plied as usual.