Curfew imposed in City, Army stages flag march
Unprecedented bandh, protests in the region
Sanjeev Pargal / Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Feb 15: Anger over the martyrdom of 44 CRPF personnel in a dastardly terror attack at Pulwama yesterday spilled over the roads of Jammu region today with people in large numbers hitting the streets to voice their strong resentment against militants as well as Pakistan and demanding that terrorism should be crushed with an iron hand and Pakistan taught a lesson by the Government while an unprecedented bandh was observed in most parts of the Jammu region with majority of Government offices, educational institutions shut and traffic off the roads on National Highways and major roads. Bandh was spontaneous in most parts of the region with shopkeepers downing shutters on their own and traffic staying off the roads.
Click here to watch video
People of all ages-right from children and teenagers to young and elderly citizens including women-marched on the streets of Jammu at various places carrying tricolor in their hands, shouting ‘Jai Hind’, ‘Vande Mataram’, eulogizing security forces and denouncing militants and their abettor, Pakistan, in most of the parts of Jammu region-be it the City, towns, National Highways or rural areas, condemning the martyrdom of 44 CRPF personnel at Pulwama and calling for immediate action against perpetrators of the gruesome attack.
As protesters at some places in Jammu City turned violent and torched vehicles at Gujjar Nagar and Residency Road, authorities immediately announced imposition of curfew in the entire Jammu City and called out Army to maintain law and order. Normalcy was restored in the disturbed areas after imposition of curfew this afternoon.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Sanjeev Verma told the Excelsior that curfew was clamped in entire Jammu City and Army was called out following some incidents of arson at Residency Road and Gujjar Nagar. Immediately after its deployment, Army staged flag march in all sensitive areas to restore peace, he said.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jammu Zone, MK Sinha said bandh and protests in the region passed off peacefully barring incidents of violence in Jammu City including Gujjar Nagar, Residency Road, Narwal and Subash Nagar. Police was keeping strict vigil on the situation in all sensitive areas and additional re-enforcement of police and para-military has been deployed, wherever necessary, he added.
Sinha said it was extreme restrain shown by police and other security forces that there were no casualties and clashes despite attempts to vitiate atmosphere in the City. “Police and security forces had a tough time to control the situation and maintain law and order at some places,” he added.
Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar said curfew has been imposed in whole of the Jammu City till further orders to maintain law and order, public tranquility and protect life and property of general public. He added that there was likelihood of breach of peace that prompted the administration to impose curfew in the City and call out Army.
Defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand said the Army reacted promptly after being requisitioned by the civil authorities of Jammu and deployed nine ‘Internal Security Columns’ of Army from the Tiger Division along with air support from White Knight Corps.
The troops were deployed in Gujjar Nagar, Janipur, Shahidi Chowk, Talab Khatikan and other areas. They conducted flag march at all these places.
“Helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) of Army were also pressed into service to monitor the situation. The pro-active approach jointly taken by J&K Police, civil administration and Army has ensured that the situation remains under control and peaceful,” Col Anand said.
Sources said imposition of curfew and deployment of Army were necessitated as some of the protesters torched vehicles parked at Gujjar Nagar and Residency Road prompting police and para-military forces to resort to heavy teargassing and lathicharge to disperse the mob, which also subjected police personnel and parked vehicles to stoning.
Seven police personnel including SHO City Inspector Vishal Sharma sustained injuries in stoning. Reports said some people pelted stones on the protesters from atop the houses, causing minor injuries to few of them. Some of the protesters were injured in police lathicharge and teargassing.
However, immediately after deployment of Army and imposition of curfew, the protesters dispersed and normalcy was restored in the entire City.
SSP Jammu Tejender Singh was monitoring situation in the City.
Police said around dozen vehicles were burnt as mob torched them while some others were damaged in stone pelting at Gujjar Nagar, Residency Road and couple of other places. Mob targeted the vehicles, which had been parked on the roadside. However, reports said number of torched and damaged vehicles could be higher.
Authorities said a decision on continuation or lifting of curfew and resumption of mobile internet services, which were suspended last night, will be taken at 8 am tomorrow after review of the situation.
Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu Principal, Dr Sunanda Raina has cancelled leave of all employees and asked them to report back on duty immediately. Dr Raina spoke to the Divisional Commissioner, who directed that Identity cards of the GMC staffers will be treated as curfew passes. She has directed all Head of Departments and Medical Superintendents to remain alert round-the-clock.
Barring the areas where the troops were deployed, people in other areas of the City defied curfew instructions and continued to hit the streets with protest marches against militants and Pakistan, shouting slogans against them and demanding stern action against those responsible for the dastardly act of causing terror attack at Pulwama in which 44 CRPF personnel were martyred.
Significantly, people cutting across their party affiliations and all social, religious and other organizations, irrespective of their age, could be seen marching in processions denouncing the terror attack.
Almost all Government offices, educational institutions, shops and business establishments remained closed in Jammu and transport was off the roads. There was no movement of vehicles on National Highways as well as other major roads. Such was impact of the bandh that shops even inside small lanes and traffic on internal roads also remained closed in Jammu and other parts of the region.
“It was an unprecedented bandh, unheard of since 2008 Shri Amarnath Ji land agitation,” observers said. The protests were also massive with people forgetting their political and other affiliations and marching in processions throughout the day today.
Purported videos of stone-pelting from the rooftops and burning of vehicles went viral on social media which too evoked massive protests from the people in different areas of the city.
Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI) had called for a shutdown today in protest against the attack on CRPF jawans in which 40 CRPF personnel attained martyrdom and several others were injured.
A complete bandh was observed in Jammu, with no traffic plying on roads and all shops and markets wore a deserted look.
Massive anti-Pakistan protests were held at Jewel Chowk, Purani Mundi, Rehari, Shakti Nagar, Pacca Danga, Janipur, Gandhinagar, Bakshinagar, Maheshpora Chowk, , Shakti Nagar, Subash Nagar, Paloura, Bohri Chungi , Talab Tillo, Muthi, Patoli Brahmana, Sharda Colony, Roop Nagar, Buta Nagar and Satwari, Gangyal, Rajiv Nagar and Nai Basti among other areas.
The irate mob burnt tyre tubes at various places on city roads including Akhnoor road, Janipur road, Old City roads, Jewel Chowk, Talab Tillo road and BC road to disturb the movement of vehicular traffic. Even the two wheelers were not allowed to ply by the protestors. Some ambulances and vehicles carrying serious patients to hospital had to wait for a long time till cleared by bandh enforcers who had sat on dharna and blocked the city roads at various places.
Both the portions of Tawi bridge were blocked at Bikram Chowk where a large number of protestors had squatted on both sides of bridge protesting against the Fidayeen attack on CRPF convoy. The Bhagwati Nagar bridge and Gujjar Nagar bridge were blocked by protestors and no vehicle was allowed to move from there. Huge traffic jams were witnessed on Tawi bridge, Akhnoor road and other city roads during the day.
A protesting youth at Akhnoor road near Muthi fell unconscious and died on way to Hospital due to heart attack. Identified as Narender Sharma, he was the booth president of BJP in Muthi. He was protesting against the attack near Muthi and soon he fell unconscious. He was shifted to GMC in the vehicle of SHO Damana but died on way to hospital. BJP Jammu rural has demanded compensation to the family as well as job to his next kin as the family lost its lone bread earner.
Raising anti-Pakistan and anti-terrorists slogans, the protestors burnt tyres and placed barricades on several roads, saying Pakistan was a sponsor of terrorism in the Valley. They also held bike rallies in different parts of the city with tricolors in their hands shouting slogans against Pakistan and terrorism.
Led by Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and Dogra Front, VHP, Congress, NC and BJP leaders the people also took out candlelight marches in the city and its outskirts in the evening and held protests.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Jammu, suspended work in all courts in the city, including the High Court and tribunals, as a mark of respect and to express solidarity with the bereaved families. The lawyers also took out a massive protest march in the city to register their anger against the Fidayeen attack and security lapses.
The Bar led by its president, B S Salathia, senior advocate lodged a massive protest outside the court premises against the dastardly attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama yesterday.
A large number of lawyers participated in the protest. The lawyers while observing total solidarity with security forces also abstained the work in courts and warned that such cowardice acts will not be tolerated.
Huge rally was taken by youth and students at Canal road in protest against the Fidayeen attack. The protestors on roof tops of vehicles were shouting slogans against the Pakistan and terrorists.
Angry BJP workers staged a strong protest against Pakistan and its sponsored terrorists. Led by party president Ravinder Raina, BJP activists raised slogans against the terrorists gruesome attack.The BJP leaders including MP, Jugal Kishore Sharma, former Deputy CM, Kavinder Gupta, former Minister Sat Sharma, general secretary of the party Yudhvir Sethi and its spokesperson and former Minister, Priya Sethi district president, Jammu Rural, Omi Khajuria, Munish Sharma and others staged the dharna at Vikram Chowk and protested against the Fidayeen attack.
The Congress activists led by former Minister, Raman Bhalla held a strong protest at Gangyal, Rajiv Nagar, Nai Basti and Gandhi Nagar. They criticized the Government for security lapses. The protestors demanded strong action against the terrorism and smashing of its support base. Talking to media, Bhalla asked how long the nation will bleed like this and people at the helm of affairs will act as mute spectators?
He said where the claims of weeding out terrorism and zero tolerance against the terror have gone as the Government was totally caught unaware.
Candle marches were taken out in different parts of city and outskirts in the evening to show solidarity with the security forces and pay homage to 40 martyrs of CRPF. A candle light procession was taken from Sharda Colony to Patoli Brahmana Chowk which was led by Omesh Talashi, Sarpanch and Nana Ji Raina ex Sarpanch.
Another candle light procession was taken out in Jagti township under the leadership of M K Yogi, NC Minority Cell president, AIMCCC chief, Desh Rattan, Soan Kashmir Front president Shadi Lal Pandita and Naveen Gowsani. Earlier a bike rally was taken from township to National Highway by the inmates of the Jagti in protest against the Fidayeen attack.
Candle light march was taken out from JDA Market Janipur to High Court road under the leadership of Yashpal Sharma (Mantoo) Corporator ward 35 JMC. Candle light march was also taken at Buta Nagar by the people in the evening.
A candle light march was taken out in Ambhgrota this evening in which hundreds of mourners participated and prayed for martyrs eternal peace. It was led by Yash Paul Magotra, Aman Banotra and Vinod Magotra.
Dogra Front and Shiv Sena activists led by Ashok Gupta took out a protest in the City here and torched the Pak flag against the barbaric Fidayeen attack on the CRPF vehicle.
Reports reaching here from twin districts of Kathua and Samba said that total shutdown was observed in both the districts against the attack on CRPF vehicle.
The Jammu -Pathankot National Highway was blocked by ABVP and Kathua Degree College students for three hours as a mark of protest besides the blockades were enforced by protestors at NH at several places from Hiranagar to Lakhanpur.
Despite heavy rain, large number of BJP, ABVP and Shiv Sena and some social activists took to streets in Kathua and lodged a protest against Pakistan and terrorists.
Led by former Minister and senior BJP leader, Rajiv Jasrotia and district president, BJP, Prem Nath Dogra, the protestors’ torched effigies of Pakistan and terrorism. To avert any untoward incident the authorities had made heavy deployment in the town.
Reports said that total bandh was observed in the towns of Bani Basohli, Billawar and Hiranagar also.
To express solidarity with the martyrs’ families and to protest against the Fidayeen attack, total bandh was observed in the towns of Samba, Vijaypur, Ghagwal, Ramnagar and Bari Brahmana today.
Reports said that bandh was also observed in the towns Bishnah, R S Pura, Akhnoor, Sunderbani, Nowshera, Rajouri, Kalakote, Darhal, Thanamandi and Surankote. Seven vehicles were damaged in Poonch by protestors. The reports said that it was for the first time when bandh evoked a total response in Rajouri and Poonch districts. In Poonch as per reports about 10,000 people took to streets and protested against the Fidayeen attack. A candle light march was taken out in Rajouri in the evening.
Total bandh was also observed in Udhampur, Ramnagar and Chenani towns in protest against the Fidayeen attack. The people held protest marches and demanded strong action against terrorism.
Bandh was complete in Ramban town by both the communities in protest against the Fidayeen attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama yesterday. Reports reaching here said that the band enforces burnt tyre tubes on NH to block the movement of vehicular traffic. Later a candle march procession was also held in the evening as a mark of respect to CRPF martyrs.
Complete bandh was also observed in the towns of Reasi, Katra, Pouni, Jyotipuram and Salal in protest against the attack on CRPF convoy by terrorists in Kashmir Valley yesterday. A protest march was taken out in Reasi from Main Bazar to Bus Stand by the people also.
In Bhadarwah bandh was observed by one section of the society in protest against the Fidayeen attack on CRPF convoy. The shops and business establishments of the minority community remained closed and activists of BJP led by district president, Manjit Razdhan held a protest march in the town in which the activists of Bajrang Dal and VHP and other Hindu organizations also participated.
Total bandh was observed in the towns of Doda and Kishtwar in protest against the attack on CRPF convoy by terrorists in Kashmir Valley yesterday. The people showing solidarity with security forces held protest demonstrations in both the towns and demanded strong action against the terrorists and Pakistan.
Kishtwar remained completely peaceful despite being communally sensitive. No untoward incident was reported from the town during the bandh. During the killing of BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother also, Kishtwar had remained peaceful.