Jammu and Kashmir remains tense, fresh violence continues unabated (Update)

August 5th, 2008 - 6:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Amarnath Shrine

Jammu, Aug 5 (ANI): Jammu and Kashmir remained tense on Tuesday as fresh violent protests continued unabated in different parts of the state over the revocation of forestland allotted to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).
Fresh protest demonstrations were reported in the Kashmir Valley from Nowhatta, Gojwara and Maisuma areas of Srinagar Division.
Hurriyat factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani called for a shutdown in the Kashmir Valley as they protested against the agitation in Jammu.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik has begun an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the ongoing agitation in Jammu.
The Bar Association of Kashmir also joined the ongoing protest against the Jammu’’s violence as the valley turned violent, particularly after the killing of a youth during the police action in Srinagar on Monday.
“We want to appeal to responsible people of the United Nations that they come here and see how much atrocities we are facing, and what is happening in Jammu. Today India’’s secular fabric has been exposed,” said Nazir Ahmed Ronga, President, Kashmir Bar Association.
Predominantly Hindu populated districts and towns in Jammu region have been protesting over the past three weeks and the Army has been called in several areas including the Srinagar - Pathankot National Highway to control the situation.
Meanwhile, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has ordered a magisterial probe into the police firing in Samba District in which two people were killed and 18 were injured on Monday. The firing took place during a protest march on the Amarnath land transfer row.
“We have ordered a magisterial probe into the police firing in Samba on protestors in which two persons were killed on Monday,” Samba District Magistrate, Surav Bhagat said.
The probe will investigate what prompted the police led by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Prabhat Singh to open fire without magisterial orders, he said.
The probe order comes in the wake of allegations by the SASB that the SSP took an AK rifle from his personal security officer after being hit by a stone and fired on protestors.
The Samiti had demanded dismissal of the SSP and his immediate arrest.
Inspector General of Police, R K Saxena said a CRPF jawan fired a few rounds in the air, but no one died in that firing. “The firing on protestors was resorted to by the police team led by the SSP,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, will convene an all-party meeting on the Amarnath land transfer row on Wednesday.
Dr. Singh is expected to brief political leaders about the steps being taken by the Centre to maintain communal harmony across the country. Leaders of national and regional political parties have been invited for the meeting.
On Monday, the Centre rushed Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh to Jammu to carry out an assessment of the situation. They interacted with the State Government officials and the Army.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil also convened a meeting to review the situation.
Jammu continues to be the epicentre of protests. A shutdown call given by the Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti, a conglomerate of 35 political, social and religious organisations fighting for the restoration of land to the SASB, entered its 14th day on Tuesday. The ongoing violence in Jammu is fast assuming communal dimensions and most areas have been placed under curfew. (ANI)

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