Publish Date: Jul 28 2008 12:00PM

AYSS, BJP, BAJ, Praja Parishad Leaders Among Scores Held

Jammu, July 27: Fearing violence after the call of Amarnath Yatra Sangrash Simiti to hold a ‘Shardhanjali’ rally at Parade Ground on Sunday, the administration re-imposed curfew in Jammu district late last night to prevent any untoward incident. All the entry and exit points around the city have been sealed. However,H the agitators defied the curfew in several old city areas and clashed with the police and the Rapid Action Force deployed in strength to quell disturbances.
 The administration feared large scale violence during a tribute paying ceremony for Kuldip Kumar Dogra, who had allegedly committed suicide on Wednesday in protest against the revocation of the order of forestland transfer to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board.  
 The AYSS, a conglomerate of some Hindu groups spearheading the agitation, had asked its supporters to assemble in the Parade Ground for a tribute paying ceremony for Dogra, who it said had sacrificed his life for the ‘cause of the land restoration’ to the Shrine Board. Its convener, Leela Karan, expected about 10,000 people to attend.
 Senior administration officials present on the spot said there were reports the gathering would turn violent during the ceremony which prompted promulgation of curfew to avert any untoward incident. “We had reports that the mob will turn violent during the tribute ceremony. To avert this, it was decided to re-impose curfew,” they said.
 However, in spite of the heavy deployment of police, paramilitary troops and the crack Rapid Action Force, violence flared up on the fifth day of bandh as protesters indulged in violence, pelting stones on the police and burning the effigies of the governor, NN Vohra, and some politicians in several areas in and around the city.
 Pitched battles between police and protesters were reported from Purani Mandi, Raj Tilak Road, Link Road, Moti Bazaar, Kanak Mandi and Parade Ground clashes with the latter resorting to heavy stone pelting on the police, who retaliated with cane charge followed by tear smoke shelling.
 As the action failed to make any impact, the police and CRPF personnel made use of rubber bullets to chase away the protesters who included some women and elderly persons. Over 50 people, mostly youths, were reported to have sustained injuries in the day long clashes. Several policemen were also injured.
 The protesters shouted slogans against the governor, N N Vohra, the National Conference president, Omar Abdullah, and the PDP chief, Mehbooba Mufti. At some places, they even burnt the effigies of the governor and the Kashmiri leaders, amid the chants of ‘Bum, Bum bhole’ and ‘Kuldeep Dogra Amar Rahe.’ They were demanding action against the police officials involved in what they termed as desecration of Dogra’s body, besides restoration of 800 kanal forestland to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board.
 Meanwhile, normal life remained affected on the fifth day of Jammu bandh called by the AYSS in Samba, Vijaypur, Bari Brahamana, Bishnah, RS Pura, Satwari, Domana, Akhnoor, Khour and Jourian. Reports of bandh were also received from parts of Sunderbani and Kalakote.
 In Kathua, authorities used heavy force to clear over 250 trucks carrying goods to Kashmir, which had been blocked by the protesters at Lakhanpur, entrance to Jammu and Kashmir, for the past two days. A large number of people gathered at Lakhanpur town and shouted slogans against the authorities when the trucks carrying supplies to Kashmir were forcibly cleared. The trucks were diverted via Dhar road.

Mayor, BJP, Praja Parishad, AYSS, BAJ leaders held

 Cracking down on the Amarnath land row agitators, police on Sunday arrested Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (AYSS) chief, Advocate Leela Karan Sharma, the Jammu mayor, Kavinder Gupta, Jammu Bar Association President, BS Salathia, senior BJP leader and former union minister, Chaman Lal Gupta, and Praja Parishad president, Chander Mohan Sharma, along with dozens of their supporters.
 The AYSS chief, who was trying to reach the venue of ‘Shardhanjali’ rally at Parade Ground to address the gathering was beaten up by the Jammu police and later taken into custody.
 He was first taken to the Police Control Room and later shifted to the city police station along Akhil Bhartiya Vidharthi Parashid leader, Hari Ji and Ramesh Pappa, and dozens of other workers. His arrest led to protests by followers with police firing tear gas shells and using batons to disperse them.
 Police also arrested Jammu Mayor and senior BJP leader, Kavinder Gupta, from his residence when he along with hundreds of his supporters tried to move toward Parade Ground to take part in the ‘Sharadhanjali’ rally.
 Addressing the gathering at Janipur before his arrest, Gupta said that the people of Jammu were protesting the ‘inhuman and unconstitutional’ attitude of the administration and police, who allegedly disrespected the body of Kuldeep Dogra and thrashed the wife, sister-in-law and aunt.
 The Praja Parishad chief was picked up when he tried to reach Parade Ground along with his supporters. They were also sent to police lock up in city police station.
 The state BJP chief, Ashok Khajuria, was put under house arrest. However, he gave a slip to the police and reached Geeta Bhawan but was not allowed to come out.
 Former state BJP chief, Nirmal Singh ,and general secretary, Ram Prakash Ganga, were also arrested and sent to Jammu Central Jail.
 Over 40 leaders and activists were arrested by the police since Saturday night in order to foil the plan of Sangharsh Samiti to take out a protest march from Parade ground on Sunday.
 Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, BJP vice-president and spokesman, Prof Hari Om, held the governor responsible for the situation asking him to quit the state. He alleged Vohra was favoring a particular ideology with a definite mindset while suppressing the voice of nationalists.

1-hr curfew relaxation 

 As the situation improved in several areas, the district administration relaxed the curfew in Gandhi Nagar, Shastri Nagar, Gangyal, Satwari, Domana and the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Janipur police station for one hour Sunday evening.

Govt attaches police official

 Succumbing to public pressure, the government today attached the deputy superintendent of police, Bakshi Nagar, Mohan Lal Kaith, allegedly for showing disrespect to the body of a youth on July 23. 
 Quoting well informed sources in the police department, local news agency, NAK, said the director-general of police, Kuldeep Khuda, had attached Kaith to the District Police Lines and posted Dy SP, Dushyant Sharma, brother-in-law of the BJP state president Ashok Khajuria, in his place with immediate effect.
 It may be recalled that people of all walks of life in Jammu were demanding action against Kaith who allegedly showed disrespect to the body of Kuldeep Kumar who had committed suicide over the land transfer row.
 However, when contacted, senior superintendent of police, Alok Kumar, said he had no information about the attachment.

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