Children defy curfew, march to police stations in Jammu

August 20th, 2008 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Aug 20 (IANS) Children along with their parents, defied curfew in this winter capital city of Jammu and Kashmir and its adjoining areas and marched to police stations to offer themselves for arrest over the Amarnath land row.Curfew was clamped Tuesday night on the entire Jammu city, having a population of one million people. Army has been called out to keep the situation under control.

Violent protests started Tuesday afternoon, when the people fought pitched battles with the police and Rapid Action Force personnel. The mobs indulged in stone pelting and the security forces could not control volatile crowds for almost six hours, despite firing in the air and lobbing teargas shells.

It is for the first time in the past one week when there is no curfew relaxation in Jammu city.

On Wednesday, children and their parents carrying tricolours in their hands, marched toward police stations, chanting “Bam Bam Bhole”, in violation of the curfew.

However, the number of the protesters Wednesday was small as compared to the previous two days when tens of thousands were on the streets and had forced their entry into police stations to court arrest.

The Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti, spearheading the agitation for the past nearly two months, had given a call for a three-day programme of “jail bharo” or courting arrest, and Wednesday was the turn of children after men courted arrest Monday and women Tuesday.

Over 350,000 people had offered themselves for arrest, according to a spokesman of Sangarsh Samiti, while the official estimates put it slightly less than 100,000.

Late Tuesday evening, the authorities had warned the people not to allow their children to come out to court arrest. “This is illegal,” said an official spokesman.

The state government had transferred a 40-hectare plot of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board but later withdrew the transfer following protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley. The revocation July 1 ignited an agitation in the Hindu majority Jammu region.

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