Jammu observes total bandh

Mob blocks NH, squats on Rly track at Kootah

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Apr 11: All shops and other business establishments remained closed with public transport remaining off the roads as Jammu observed a total bandh in response to call given by Bar Association demanding immediate deportation of Rohingyas, handing over of Rassana murder case of a minor girl to CBI for probe and revocation of an order issued by Tribal Department.

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The traders downed shutters of their shops and other business establishments in Jammu city and its outskirts while public transport remained off the roads during the day in response to the bandh call of Jammu Bar Association. Most of the private educational institutions remained closed while there was a thin attendance in Government office as employees due to lack of transport facilities owing to bandh call could not attend their duties.
All markets in Jammu City wore a deserted look due to bandh call and barring some medical shops in some markets all the business establishments remained closed.
At various places, the bandh enforcers had also burnt tyre tubes to paralyze the movement of vehicular traffic and stray incidents of stone pelting on commercial vehicles were witnessed at some places in the morning to force the public transport to remain off the roads.
Some vehicles including a passenger bus of Akhnoor route was damaged in stone pelting. However, no major incident of violence was reported from any where and bandh was mostly peaceful.
To deal with any untoward incident a big contingent of police was deployed in various markets in Jammu City and outskirts.
To enforce the bandh call, the members of Bar Association led by its president B S Salathia with Tricolours in their hands took out a rally from High Court Complex Janipur in cars and two wheelers and marched through the city.
They moved via Old Janipur Chowk, New Plots and Ambphalla Chowk first. At Ambphalla Chowk, they paralysed the movement of vehicular traffic resulting into a huge traffic jam for some time. However, after the intervention of the police the traffic was allowed to move and road was cleared.
Later the rally moved towards Rehari where from it left for Kachi Chawni via Exchange road.
At Kachi Chawni Chowk the Bar held a massive protest demonstration and shouted slogans against the BJP as well as coalition Government. The rally later moved towards Parade, Purani Mandi and City Chowk. At City Chowk, they removed the poster of MLA Jammu East, Rajesh Gupta and a virtual clash with his PA was averted with the intervention of the members of business community.
From City Chowk a group of lawyers in the form of rally went via Kanak Mandi while another passed via Dogra Chowk where already the members of Team Jammu led by Zorawar Singh Jamwal and activists of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Panthers Party had reached to enforce the bandh. They had burnt the tyre tubes on the road to stop the movement of vehicular traffic.
Later some activists of Bar Association, NPP and Team Jammu marched through other markets of Jammu including Jewel Chowk, Canal road, Talab Tillo, Janipur, Roop Nagar, Chinore, Bantalab etc to enforce the bandh.
Besides, the work in High Court Complex and subordinate courts remained suspended for eighth consecutive day today as lawyers abstained work in support of their demands.
Strong protest was also held at Bohri Chungi led by Vikas Dewan and Ashok Kangan. The protestors raised slogans demanding deportation of Rohingyas.
Reports coming from Kathua and other towns said that total bandh was observed in Kathua, Hiranagar, Jatwal, Chadwal and Samba townships with shops and other business establishments remaining closed with transport also remaining off the roads. The response to bandh call was spontaneous. The lawyers in Kathua also held a protest which was led by Bar president Advocate Kirti Bushan Mahajan. They torched the effigy of Government in front of Court Complex Kathua.
All private schools remained closed in Kathua town. There was heavy deployment of police to avert any untoward incident.
Reports said that mob held protest demonstrations at Hiranagar, Chadwal, Chan Morian, Koota More and Lodhi Morh and blocked National Highway for about 20 minutes at every place. The traffic on the Highway was restored only after the intervention of police which forced the mob to disperse.
The mob also tried to block train movement by squatting on the track at Koota in Hiranagar. However, the police also foiled their attempt.
The activists of National Panthers Party led by former Minister and senior party leader, Harsh Dev Singh held a strong protest at Kootah. The NPP leader took the Government to task for harassing innocent people of Rassana and its “anti Jammu policies.”
Protests were also held in various villages of Kathua district against the Government and in support of demands of Jammu and Kathua Bar Associations.
However, the bandh failed to evoke any response in Udhampur, Rajouri, Reasi, Ramban, Kishtwar, Doda and Poonch districts.
Bar in a statement later said the work in all the courts, Revenue Courts, Tribunals & Commissions including the High Court remained suspended continuously on eighth day also. In response to the call of J&K High Court Bar Association Jammu, the public and the civil society observed a complete and peaceful Jammu bandh.
The handout said all the Bazars and markets remained closed. Besides, the educational Institutions remained closed, and public transport remained off the roads. It said, the people and civil society responded very well to the bandh call and a total Jammu Bandh was observed.
A protest rally was taken out in the city under the leadership of its president B S Slathia, Senior Advocate & all other office bearers including senior members and young lawyers of the Association. The members were holding the National Flags in their hands and were raising slogans in the rally against the coalition Government, deportation of Rohingyas etc. The people of Civil Society of Jammu also accompanied the rally and raised slogans in favour of the demands and against the Government, the handout added.
B S Slathia,  president of the Association addressed public gathering at various places in Jammu city and warned the Government that it should refrain from its “evil designs” to create wedge amongst the people of Jammu by projecting the ongoing agitation through its hired stooges by circulating in social media as communally  motivated.  Slathia strongly refuted this claim and stated that the people of Jammu are united irrespective of their caste, colour, creed and religion for fighting the issues, as decided by the General House meeting of the Association. He further said that today’s complete Jammu Bandh is an example which showed that Jammu is united and they can face any eventuality and fight for protection of their rights , safety & security .
He appealed to all Jammu people to be careful and vigilant as the Government can go to any extent in order to sabotage the interest and make the ongoing agitation a failure. He further said that the people of Jammu are very secular and peaceful and they will maintain  tradition by observing the peaceful bandh.
Sachin Gupta, vice president and Prem Sadotra general secretary also addressed the people of Jammu at different places in the rally .
The JKHCBAJ condemned the action of the police, which have lodged FIRs against the Advocates of Kathua Bar Association and asked the Government to withdraw all the FIRs lodged against the members of the Bar Association, Kathua immediately. The members of Bar Association, Kathua were only protesting against the investigation agency and no such action or incident has taken place as alleged by the police.
The president J&K High Court Bar Association Jammu, also expressed his gratitude to all the people of Jammu , Civil Society , Associations, organizations, Institutions, for their unconditional and voluntary response to the Bandh call given by JKHCBAJ.
That in order to devise the future strategy, the General House meeting of JKHCBAJ has been convened on April 12 in the Conference Hall of District Court Complex, Jammu.