Jammu shuts down against Taliban imposing jaziya in Pakistan

May 8th, 2009 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Jammu, May 8 (IANS) All markets, schools and business establishments here were closed Friday as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliates called for a shutdown to protest the imposition of jaziya, or protection tax, by the Taliban on Sikhs in Pakistan.
Vehicular traffic in this Jammu and Kashmir winter capital stayed off the roads as workers of the BJP, Shiv Sena and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) came out on the streets enforce the shutdown. Clashes with police were reported in some places, an official said.

Police also arrested some people trying to force shops to close on the outskirts of Jammu.

“All the organisations supporting the strike will take out a march on the main streets of Jammu and then submit a memorandum to United Nations representative in its Jammu office.” said BJP’s state unit president Ashok Khajuria.

There was heavy police and paramilitary deployment across the city as protestors shouting anti-Pakistan and anti-Taliban slogans convered in the city’s Bikram chowk area to march to the UN office.

A local jirga in Pakistan’s restive Orakzai Agency in the northwest had ruled that the Sikh community should annually pay Rs.15 million ($187,000) as jaziya or protection money. Earlier reports had said the Taliban had demanded Rs.50 million but that this had been reduced.

When the Sikh community expressed their inability to pay, the Taliban then auctioned their houses and other belongings, forcing them to migrate from the area. There were reports the militants had demolished the 11 houses of the Sikh community after they failed to pay the jaziya tax.

The Orakzai Agency is situated in the virtually ungovernable Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border where the writ of the Taliban and Al Qaeda largely runs.

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