Complete bandh observed
JAMMU, Aug 8: Trouble erupted in Kargil district of Ladakh today with people hitting the streets in protest against bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories and grant of UT status to Ladakh prompting police to resort to teargas to stop the protesters, who were defying prohibitory orders imposed by the district administration under Section 144. Click here to watch video
Nearly 20 protesters including former MLA Ghulam Raza and Councilor Zakir Hussain have been detained by the police for defying the restrictions but were released later.
Reports said large number of people gathered outside Jamia Masjid in Kargil town under the banners of ‘Joint Action Committee’, which had given the bandh call and started march in the town in protest against grant of Union Territory status to Ladakh and bifurcation of the State.
Deputy Commissioner Kargil, Baseer-ul-Haq Chowdhary told the Excelsior that police had to use very mild teargassing to disperse the protesters.
“There was no major violence and the protesters dispersed peacefully within an hour. Thereafter, situation returned to normal,” Chowdhary, who was hit by a stone during the protests and sustained minor injuries, said.
He added that Section 144 will remain in force in Kargil, Drass and Sankoo, where it was imposed last night as precautionary measure.
Protesters were stopped at Lal Chowk but they tried to further move towards Khomeini Chowk prompting the police to resort to teargas to stop the march. Some of the youth were reported to have pelted stones. Couple of youth and five cops have sustained minor injuries.
Reports said few protesters were detained but released later.
However, after the protests, shops and business establishments remained closed in Kargil town and surrounding areas and traffic also remained off the roads.
Reports said prominent leaders of all major political parties except the BJP joined the protests. National Conference and Congress leaders besides activities of religious bodies prominently joined the protests and denounced the Central Government for bifurcating the State and granting Union Territory status to Ladakh. They vowed to continue their protests.
Yesterday also, Kargil had observed bandh.
Talking to reporters in Kargil, former Minister and NC leader Qamar Ali Akhoon said, “We wanted a united State. Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir should be one entity. We are fighting for restoration of Article 370.”
District Congress president Nasir Hussain Munshi said the Central Government has “violated out fundamental rights”.
“They are violating our right to expression. Today we took out a peaceful rally to protest against the revocation of Article 370, but were stopped from taking out the rally,” he regretted.
The JAC Kargil has submitted a memorandum to the President through the Deputy Commissioner of Kargil in this regard.
However, situation in Leh district was completely peaceful and normal with people celebrating the grant of Union Territory status to Ladakh, which was long pending demand of the people of Leh district.