Jammu, Nov 8: The Move offices of the State government and Governor's Secretariat in Raj Bhavan reopened in the winter capital on Monday amid complete shutdown in response to a bandh call given by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and some other Jammu based political parties.
The Darbar opened with the guard of honour presented to chief minister Omar Abdullah by a contingent of Jammu and Kashmir Police. He was accompanied by Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda, while deputy chief minister Tara Chand was conspicuous with his absence.
Earlier, the council of ministers, senior civil and police officers, leaders of non-gazetted employees union and large number of government functionaries received the Chief Minister warmly at the Civil Secretariat and extended good wishes to him.
Normal life in Jammu and its suburbs, however, remained paralyzed due to the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) sponsored shutdown.
Reports reaching here revealed that commercial activities were badly hit, educational institution registered thin attendance, while public transport was off the roads in Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Hiranagar, Udhampur and other areas.
The BJP had called the bandh, supported by various other organisations, in protest against Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's recent statement on Jammu and Kashmir made in the Assembly and the alleged discrimination against Jammu region.
Though the bandh passed off peacefully, activists and leaders of BJP held protest demonstrations at several places.
Hundreds of BJP workers led its state unit president Shamsher Singh Manhas, leader of Legislature Party Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, national executive members Dr Nirmal Singh, MLA Ashok Khajuria, MLA Sukhnandan Choudhary and Jugal Kishore Sharma took out a protest rally and tried to march towards civil secretariat.
However, the attempt was foiled by a strong contingent of police and paramilitary personnel. Eyewitnesses said that some of the BJP workers managed to cross the police barricade and rushed towards Jewel Chowk in a bid to move toward the secretariat. They were, however, stopped at Venayak Bazar leading to minor scuffle between BJP activists and the police. Three BJP activists reportedly received minor injuries in the scuffle.
Senior leaders of the saffron party including five legislators and state president staged a sit-in at Dogra Chowk, few hundred meters away from the secretariat.
After half-an-hour drama, police arrested all the protestors including five MLAs.
However, they were released later.
Earlier, while addressing workers, BJP state president Shamsher Singh Manhas claimed that the Jammu bandh has been supported by common people against the alleged anti-national statement of chief minister.
He said that transporters, traders, businessmen, tourist operators and shopkeepers suffered losses of about Rs 25,000 crores during 2008 land row agitation but unfortunately not a singly penny has been paid to any of them as compensation.
Meanwhile, BJP activists including Sunil Dogra, Narotam Sharma, Ayodhya Kumar, Rakesh Gupta, Rajesh Bhalla and Mnumanav Mahajan were arrested by police from different parts of Jammu city.
BJP spokesman said that MLA Bharat Bhushan was arrested from Janipur alongwith other party activists when he was proceeding towards city to join the state leaders. He added that BJP Kissan Morcha president Karan Singh, along with ex-corporators Omi Khajuria and Sheela Handoo were arrested at Chinore.
Reports said that BJP state vice-president Chander Prakash Ganga and some workers were arrested at Bari Brahmana during a demonstration. Nearly 20 workers were also detained from Jourian.
Meanwhile, a complete bandh was observed in Kathua, Hira Nagar and Ghagwal, where protest demonstrations were held under the leadership of MLA Durga Dass and Ranjit Singh.