Curfew imposed in Jammu as protests rage (Lead)

August 20th, 2008 - 1:12 am ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Aug 19 (IANS) As violent protests raged in various parts of this Jammu and Kashmir winter capital till late Tuesday evening, the authorities clamped curfew on the entire walled city.Violent protests erupted Tuesday evening at Canal Road, Jewel Chowk, Bakshi Nagar, New Plot and Janipur over the Amarnath land row.

The police and Rapid Action Force had to fire in air and fired rubber bullets besides lobbying several dozen tear-gas shells to disperse the mob that pelted stones on the security forces.

Officials said that 40 people, including about a dozen policemen, were injured in the clashes that continued in many parts of the city till late Tuesday night.

As the situation appeared to be getting out of control, with people trooping out on streets and joining the violent protests, officials announced imposition of curfew in most parts of Jammu’s walled city.

But the protestors were undeterred and they continued to fight pitched battles with the security forces.

Earlier, over 100,000 women courted arrest across the Jammu region. At many places from Kathua to Jammu, the protestors forced their entry into police stations, chanting slogans like “Bamb Bamb Bhole”.

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.

On Monday, several thousand men had courted arrest. While official estimates put the number at 75,000, the Sri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti placed it at 300,000.

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