Jammu: Defying prohibitory orders, Sikh youths took to streets for the third day today as protests spread over removal of posters of Khalistan militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a day after a youth was killed and seven injured in clashes with police over the row.
Authorities clamped Section 144 of CrPC, which bars gathering of more than four persons at a place, in the entire Jammu district and curfew like situation prevailed in violence-hit areas of Satwari-Ranibagh-Gadigarh-R S Pura belt and elsewhere.
Groups of Sikhs blocked the Jammu-Pathakote highway and burnt tyres. Protests were held at Digiana belt and people raised slogans against the police and the government. Similar protests were held in Poonch, Kathua and Rajouri areas.
Streets wore a deserted look in Jammu city today and business establishments remained closed. Mobile and internet services were also suspended in Jammu. Schools and colleges in several districts of the region were closed.
Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in strength in sensitive areas of Jammu city.
The situation “is tense but under control” in Jammu city, police said.
Army late last night staged flag march in parts of Jammu following violent clashes.
“Army carried out flag march in the violence hit belt on road from R S Pura to Satwari due to the prevailing situation,” PRO Defence Lt Col Manish Mehta said.
He said that the district administration had requisitioned the Army to instill confidence in the people.
A youth, Jagjit Singh, was killed yesterday and seven others including three policemen were injured in a clash between police and a large group of Sikhs youth who blocked roads here against removal of a poster with a picture of late militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
The condition of the three policemne has been described as critical by doctors, police said here.
The incident sparked off more protests in the region despite appeals for peace by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and his deputy Nirmal Singh.
Singh today voiced confidence that things will be controlled “within a short span of time” and said talks were being held with community leaders.
“Restrictions have been imposed under section 144 CrPC in entire district as a precautionary measure,” Deputy Commissioner, Jammu ,Simrandeep Singh told PTI.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said an investigation will be held into the incident and the guilty will face action in accordance with law.
“It is very unfortunate that this situation has emerged in Jammu and in particulare area. The administration is on the job and we are meeting the people there, the leaders of the community and we hope that the situation shall be brought under control,” he said.
“I appeal to the people specially the leaders of the community that they must maintain peace and communal harmony because it (protests) is not in larger interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and India also,” he said
“We are investigating the whole thing and whosoever is held responsible shall be dealt according to law,” he said.
Expressing deep sorrow and anguish over the loss of a precious human life during protests by the members of the Sikh community in Jammu, the Chief Minister had said that while it is the responsibility of the police to maintain law and order, at the same time Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) should be strictly adhered to avoid such tragedies during public protests.