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Curfew imposed in Rajouri after clashes, Army called out….
Sumitra Kaul | HENB | Rajouri | July 22, 2015:: Curfew was clamped in Rajouri town yesterday and today and Army carried flag march to defuse tension over burning of terror ISIS flag by Vishav Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal (BD) activists, which majority groups claimed bore religious scripture (‘Kalima Tayyaiba’) on Tuesday.
Heavy clashes were reported in parts of Old City area as youth of Muslim community, while defying curfew, pelted stones at policemen. About 15 people, who were defying the curfew, have been arrested and dozen other including five policemen injured in brick battle and clashes. Army was also called and it carried out flag march in the late afternoon of Tuesday.
Amid stringent restrictions and total shutdown that was called by Muslim community, scores of youth fought pitched battles with the police demanding the arrest of Hindus responsible for hurting Muslim sentiments. The clashes between police and the Muslim youth forced the Hindu community traders to close down their shops. Muslim Youth blocked the road at different places of the district and amid pro-Islamic, anti-Bajrang Dal and anti-VHP slogans burnt tyres in the middle of road, thus disrupting the thin vehicular movement completely.
In Hindu localities, barve heated Hindus and Sikhs jointly defended their areas and did not allow the Muslim goon with weapons. Protection contingent were also seen to save the Hindu areas preventing any havoc on them.
Reports said that large number of Muslim youth who tried to take out a procession were intercepted and lathi-charged by police in Gujjar Mandi area. The clashes left several protesters and policemen injured.
The injured were identified as Constables of SOG Anil Kumar, Mohammad Rafiq and Abdul Rashid, SPO Mohammad Sadiq and Constable Mohammad Sadiq. They were shifted to District Hospital at Rajouri.
In a bid to diffuse the tension, the local administration had arranged a meeting of elders from both communities who tried to carry out a joint peace march in the town. When, however, they reached Abdullah Bridge, they were confronted by local youth of majority community who refused to call off their demonstration unless police arrested those responsible for burning the ISIS flag. They started raising slogans and held a sit-in on the bridge forcing elders from their community to withdraw from the peace march.
To disperse the protesters, as police resorted to lathicharge at Abdullah bridge and violence spread to various parts of the town. As the news about police lathicharge spread, more and more people from outskirts of the town also started joining the protesters making it difficult for local police to control situation.
Sensing serious trouble, the district administration called out Army and immediately imposed curfew in the troubled town.
Rajouri Deputy Commissioner, Deepti Uppal, told KTNS that the Army has been asked to carry out flag march which they have been doing.
“Restrictions under Section 144 of CrPC was imposed in the town for banning of assembly of four or over four persons, but still people are trying to violate the restrictions and it has become necessary to impose curfew restrictions in the town,” the DM said. “The situation is now under control,” she said.
The situation is tense but under control after reports of burning of ISIS flag by some VHP and Bajrang Dal activists, police officials said, adding that members of Muslim community in Rajouri have threatened to hold protests and ‘bandh’ if the police do not arrest the VHP and Bajrang Dal activists for burning the flag bearing Quranic verses.
*We had only burnt the Terorist ISIS flag. We did not know as to what was written on it in Persian. — Ramakant Dubey, VHP Patron, Jammu and Kashmir
**As far as the setting afire the ISIS flags is concerned, it is a terrorist outfit symbol. Burning of the symbol of terrorists and anti-national elements is the work of nationalism. — Nirmal Singh, Deputy Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
***Restrictions under Section 144 of CrPc was imposed in the town for banning of assembly of four or over four persons, but still people are trying to violate the restrictions and it has become necessary to impose curfew restrictions in the town. — Deepti Uppal, District Magistrate, Rajouri
A leading cleric of the Muslim community alleged that some ‘communal mongers’ always try to foment trouble by indulging in mischief especially when majority community members are about to celebrate Eid. “Such elements are responsible for disruption of peace and they should be taken to task. In the name of nationalism, they sow the seeds of discord in the society,” he added. But, the burning of ISIS flag was done only after the burning of Indian lag and waving ISIS, LeT and Pakistan flags in some parts o Kashmir valley in the Eid day and day before ending the Ramadan.
Meanwhile amid a fervent appeal to both the communities to maintain peace in the town, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal ruled out the possibility of the arrest of those who set ISIS flag on fire. “There should be no communal tension. We appeal to both the communities to observe calm,” he told reporters here. But Singh ruled out arrest of VHP activists. “As far as the setting afire the ISIS flag is concerned, it is a terrorist outfit symbol,” he added. “Is it possible? Burning of the symbol of terrorists and anti-national elements is the work of nationalism.”
“They (VHP activists) cannot be arrested. This is not possible, why should we arrest them? Why should they be arrested,” he said.
However, clarifying that it had no intention to hurt the sentiments of any community, the VHP, on the other hand, asked the protesters to demonstrate against the ISIS for writing holy inscriptions on its flag. It is not fair to write any ‘Holy name’ (if so) in a flag of a Terror organisation undertaking all the unholy and inhumane activities so far.
“We had only burnt the ISIS flag. We did not know as to what was written on it in Persian,” the state VHP patron, Ramakant Dubey said.
The PRO (Defence) Lt Col Manish Mehta in Jammu claimed that army was requested by the civil administration to carry out flag march to take control of the prevailing disturbed situation. Army was called out and curfew imposed in Rajouri town on Tuesday afternoon as tension escalated following altercations between Mob and policemen at various places over the burning of an ISIS flag. Army immediately pressed in columns. The situation was under control till last reports came in, he added.
___with inputs of Kashmir Times and Agencies.
Related News: JKLF protests against ISIS flag burning incident.