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Shutdown across Jammu after clash between police, pro-Bhindranwale protesters

Jammu, Raju Kerni: Following the clash between the pro-Bhindranwale protestors which lead to the death of a youth, curfew has been imposed in Satvari and Meerasahab Police station areas while Section 144 has been imposed in Jammu city. The army is carrying a flag march in the affected areas. Schools colleges will closed in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajouri, Poonch.

Tension gripped temple city of Jammu on Thursday when police opened fire on the pro-Bhindranwale protestors killing a youth and injuring three others at Gadigarh area in the Jammu city. Authorities have clamped curfew like restrictions in Satwari and Gadigarh areas as a precautionary measure to prevent the situation from getting out of the control. Eyewitnesses said violent clashes rocked the area after the Sikh youths protested against the removal of the posters eulogising the slain Khalistani leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, ahead of anniversary Operation Blue Star on June 6.

Police had to open fire when protestors armed with sticks and kirpans pelted stones on the forces. A youth Jagjit Singh suffered bullet wounds and later succumbed in the hospital Director General of Police (DGP), Jammu and Kashmir Koondaveeti Rajendra Kumar told dna that there were clashes between police and protestors over the display of a banner of Bhindranwale. “The protestors turned violent resulting in the injuries to some policemen. To control the situation police had to open fire in which one person died and three others were injured,” he said.

The DGP noted that they have imposed the restrictions in Satwari area under section 144 CrPC. “Some police personnel were also injured. An ASI was stabbed on Wednesday. We have imposed restrictions under section 144,” said Kumar. Tension started mounting on Wednesday when the posters of Bhindranwale put by pro Khalistani groups were removed by the police in the area. Protestors assembled in the area and attacked the cops with sticks and kirpans (knives) injuring three policemen.

On Thursday the posters of Bhindranwale were again put up in the Sikh neighbourhood in the Gadigarh area. However the posters were again removed triggering a chain reaction with protestors blocking the road and torching the tyres. Protestors later clashed with the police which resorted to lathi-charge and fired smoke shells to disperse the mob. Later police fired on the protestors leaving one youth dead and there others injured. Some people then barged into a neighbouring locality and shot at and injured a barber in a tit for tat action. “Barber is now ok,” said the DGP.

The police firing has evoked a sharp reaction from Sikh groups which have demanded a judicial probe into the incident. “We demand a judicial probe into the incident. The probe should also find out on whose orders the police opened fire on the peaceful protestors,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, chairman of All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee.

Strongly condemning the killing of Jagjit Singh, Dal Khalsa blamed BJP for what they said “playing dangerous game to silence the voices of minorities”.

“Removing of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale’s posters was BJP’s design aimed to provoke Sikh youth. Jammu police has unleashed a reign of terror on protesting Sikhs and showed their barbaric face. Police barbarism was the repeat of what they have been doing with the valley Muslims since decades,” said Dal Khalsa leaders Satnam Singh and Kanwar Pal Singh in a joint statement.

Safe haven for Khalistani terorists
Pro-Khalistani forces have always used Jammu as safe haven after the peace returned to Punjab after violent phase of militancy. For the last two decades several Khalistani militant leaders were arrested from different areas of Jammu which has sizebale population of Sikhs.

In September 2010 Punjab police arrested most wanted militant of Khalistan Zindabad Force Balbir Singh alias Pinka from Jammu, 13 years after he triggered a massive bomb blast at Pathanakote in which 10 people were killed and 40 others injured. In April 2008 police foiled a major plan of ultras to assassinate Baba Ram Rahim of Dera Sacha Sauda when they arrested three Khalistani militants from Jammu.

With inputs from Raju Kerni

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