16 persons injured as mobs go on rampage; curfew imposed in city
Widespread violence was witnessed in Jammu city on Friday during the bandh called by the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Bar Association against the Thursday’s militant attack in Kashmir. Around 16 people received injuries while more than 30 vehicles belonging to a particular community were reduced to ashes and over 50 more damaged.
Even though the district magistrate imposed curfew at around 2:30 p.m, the police and paramilitary troops were unable to curb the violence at multiple locations including Gujjar Nagar, Shahidi Chowk, Janipur, Purani Mandi, Pacca Danga, Rehari, Residency Road, New Plot, Gummat, Prem Nagar and Narwal.
Hundreds of people, mostly students of Jammu University and several colleges, holding Indian flags on their bikes and raising slogans against Pakistan and militants, marched throughout the city and resorted to violence against members of a particular community.
Heavy deployment of police was made but they were seen helpless to control the situation. At some places tear gas shells were fired by the police while the people resorted to stone pelting on the cops.
Eyewitnesses told Greater Kashmir that crowds assembled at Jewel Chowk area in the morning and more people joined it on the way towards Dogra Chowk, Below Gummat Petrol Pump, Gummat, Prem Nagar and Gujjar Nagar, where the mobs turned violent.
The mobs attacked vehicles of a particular community and set them ablaze.
In retaliation to the targeting of their vehicles, the people of Gujjar Nagar, who were hitherto standing atop their buildings carrying the Indian flags, came out on the roads and started pelting stones at the mob, resulting in violent clashes.
As per eyewitnesses, over 25 vehicles were torched by the mob at Prem Nagar and Gujjar Nagar locality and more than 30 others were damaged.
Around 16 people, including two media persons of Early Times and Amar Ujala, were injured in the violent clashes.
Later, the mobs marched towards the Residency Road area and amid pro-India and anti-Pakistan sloganeering, burnt five more vehicles.
The crowds then marched towards Jewel area through the Gummat Chowk route and broke the windows of several vehicles and turned many upside down.
A youth told Greater Kashmir, “We’ve been given free hand by the police for around 3-4 hours to damage the vehicles belonging to a particular community.”
Some vehicles of the other community were also torched in the Gummat area.
Later the police dispersed the protesters, while fire and emergency department vehicles contained the flames.
Incidents of violence were reported in the evening across Jammu. En-route Jewel Chowk to Tallab Tillo area, Ambphalla-Janipur Road, Khatika Tallab, Gujjar Nagar, Purani Mandi, the protesters burnt tyres and damaged vehicles.
As per reports, some kiosks belonging to minority community were also pelted with stones at New Plot and Janipur in the evening.
In order to stop the situation from worsening, the divisional administration called the army in the evening. The army reacted promptly and personnel were deployed in Gujjar Nagar, Janipur, Shahidi Chowk, Talab Khatika and other areas. Flag marches were conducted and UAVs were also put into operation to monitor the situation.
The authorities snapped the mobile Internet service throughout the Jammu province while the speed of the broadband service was also slowed down.
The Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries had given the call for bandh which was supported by Bar Association of Jammu and political and religious organisations including the NC, NPP, BJP, VHP and other organisations.
Reports of violence were also received from other districts of Jammu province.