JAMMU: Defying prohibitory orders, Sikh youth on Friday took to streets for the third day as protests spread over various areas in Jammu, Kathua, Poonch and Rajouri districts in the division.
A group of protesters snatched an AK-47 rifle from a special police officer (SPO) in Digiana area of Jammu city while widespread protests were reported from various areas like Digiana, Gangyal, Canal, Tallab Tilloo, Rehari, Bakshinagar, Narwal and Gole Gujral. Protestors armed with lathis and kirpans also blocked the Jammu-Pathakote highway disrupting traffic on the national highway.
Streets of Jammu wore a deserted look 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 where the situation is described by authorities as “tense but under control”. Army late last night staged a flag march in parts of Jammu following violent clashes.
Protests escalated after one Jagjit Singh son of Narveer Singh of RS Pura, was killed and three others injured in police firing on Thursday.
Meanwhile, some protestors stabbed a policeman and fled with his AK rifle in Gangyal area of Jammu city late last night, Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Jammu East Mohmmad Rafiq said.
SPO Joginder Pal, who is PSO of SDPO (Jammu East) Mohammad Rafiq, was shifted to the GMC hospital, where his condition was stated to be stable, the police officer said.
A bandh was observed in Poonch town, where leaders belonging to all religions sat on protest dharna and called for the maintaining clam amid condemning the death of youth in Police firing. Protests and dharnas were also held in Rajouri town, Rajbhagh, Hatli Morh and Lakhipur on Jammu-Pathnakote in Kathua district and Udhampur, reports said, adding that traffic was disrupted on highway for two to three hours.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh, who hails from Jammu, today briefed Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the situation. Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, said the Home Minister has offered all possible support to the Jammu and Kashmir government for dealing with the situation.
Rajnath Singh has spoken to Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and offered him sufficient number of armed forces personnel in case the need arises, Jitendra Singh said, adding “I hope the situation will be brought under control very soon.”
Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has, in a letter to the state government, condemned police action regarding removal of the hoarding carrying the photograph of Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and accused police of mishandling the situation and allowing it to go out of control. It has demanded suspension of SSP Jammu, Uttam Chand and SHO Satwari Kulvir Singh.
‘Khalistan Zindabad’, Sikh protesters chant in Jammu
The trouble began after hundreds of Sikhs youth, armed with sticks and kirpans united on Ranibagh-Gandhigarh stretch on Satwari-RS Pura road and blocked the traffic in protest against the removal of slain Khalistani leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale posters put up by an organization of the community ahead of his death anniversary on June 6.
The crowd then showered stones and police in return retaliated by cane-charging and teargas shelling in Satwari area of the city, said a police official adding that some youths have also been taken into custody.
While some protestors tried to block the Jammu-Pathankote highway at Satwari on Thursday, others raised slogans against the government and police.
According to the reports, some people were also spotted raising pro-Khalistan slogans in the area.
This has been the first time that the posters of the slain terrorist had been shown in Jammu.
The attack by a sharp edged weapon by some Sikh youth critically injured Sub-inspector Arun Kumar. He suffered serious stitches and is admitted to GMC Hospital with two other police officials.
A political nationalism movement, Kahlistan Movement aims at creating a different country called Khalistan in the Punjab region, primarily for Sikh community.
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