Curfew relaxed in 3 phases; essential commodities run short in region

People purchasing vegetables in Jammu City on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
People purchasing vegetables in Jammu City on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

People suffer, describe restrictions unjustified

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Feb 19: Authorities relaxed curfew in Jammu City in three phases on fifth day of imposition of the restrictions but most parts of Jammu region including the City were facing shortage of essential commodities like LPG, petrol, vegetables, milk and ration as majority of the people blamed administration for extending curfew “without any reason” saying not even a single untoward incident had been reported from any part of curfew bound or other areas during past three days.

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However, there were indications that authorities might relax curfew during the day in entire City from 8 am tomorrow if situation remained normal overnight but, official sources said, any decision on curfew relaxation will be taken after review of the night situation at 7 am tomorrow.
Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar told the Excelsior tonight that curfew was relaxed in Jammu City in phased manner today and relaxation period was completely peaceful. A decision on curfew relaxation tomorrow will be taken at a meeting of civil and police officials at 7 am tomorrow, based on the overnight situation, he said.
However, there were indications that if situation remained peaceful during the night, authorities might relax curfew in the entire Jammu City from 8 am. Extension of curfew relaxation would again depend on the situation, official sources said.
Kumar said three-phased relaxation in curfew in the City today passed off peacefully but the curfew restrictions were reinforced at 8 pm as precautionary measure.
Curfew was relaxed in half of the City North areas from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm and rest of the areas from 3 pm to 5 pm. In City South, curfew was relaxed from 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm. The relaxation period passed off peacefully in the entire City. Night curfew remained in force in the entire City.
Army, para-military forces and police remained deployed in strength in all areas of Jammu City, which reeled under curfew for fifth day today following incidents of arson during Jammu bandh on Friday, which had been called to protest martyrdom of 44 CRPF jawans at Pulwama last Thursday.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), MK Sinha told the Excelsior that situation in entire Jammu region including the City remained peaceful today with no untoward incident reported from any of the areas. However, he said, Army, para-military forces and police personnel were keeping strict vigil on the situation in curfew bound areas.
Excelsior received number of calls from responsible citizens, who voiced concern over continued imposition of curfew in the entire City with relaxation for just couple of hours during the day saying both police and civil administration have themselves been claiming that situation was normal in the entire region, which can also be authenticated from the news reports that not a single incident of violence has been reported from anywhere during past three days but despite normal conditions, authorities have refused to lift curfew causing unnecessary harassment to the people including students at the time when exam season was approaching and wedding season was at its peak.
“There has been no fun of curfew when administration itself says that no untoward incident was reported from any part of the City including curfew bound areas for the last three days. Entire City has been paralyzed with curfew restrictions with Government offices, educational institutions, business markets closed and transport completely off on the National Highways and major roads, leading to extreme shortage of essential commodities all-over,’’ they said.
However, authorities said, they can’t go by the people’s sentiments and have to take every pros and cons of the situation into account before taking a decision on relaxation or lifting of curfew.
“We are responsible for maintenance of law and order situation and we have to review the situation from all angels before taking a decision,’’ they said.
Huge shortage of essential commodities has been reported from several parts of Jammu region especially the City in the wake of fifth consecutive day of curfew. As curfew restrictions were lifted for couple of hours only and that too in three phases, the people said they couldn’t get LPG, petrol or diesel and even milk, vegetables and ration items have run out of stock in many areas.
Only few vehicles and that too private moved on Jammu-Srinagar and Jammu-Pathankot National Highways and Jammu-Rajouri road. Commercial transport was by and large off the roads except few areas. Shortage of essential commodities has also been reported from some other areas of Jammu region but authorities said the scarcity of essentials will be over within a day or two.
DIG Jammu-Samba-Kathua range, Vivek Gupta, SSP Jammu Tejender Singh, SP City South Vinay Sharma and SP City North Amritpal Singh were monitoring the situation in curfew bound areas along with other senior police and civil officers.
Meanwhile, a complete bandh was observed in all major towns of Kathua district for fifth consecutive day today with shops remaining closed and traffic staying off the roads.

2G services restored barring Jammu
2G mobile internet services were today restored in the entire Jammu region, barring Jammu district.
IGP Jammu MK Sinha told the Excelsior that a decision on the restoration of 4G services in the region including Jammu district will be taken after complete restoration of normalcy.
Internet services in the region were suspended Thursday night following Jammu bandh called against martyrdom of 44 CRPF jawans.