Curfew in Zanskar continues after communal clashes | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Curfew in Zanskar continues after communal clashes

chandigarh Updated: Oct 25, 2012 20:05 IST
Tarun Upadhyay

Curfew continued for the third consecutive day on Thursday in Zanskar town of Kargil district after violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims on Tuesday in which a tehsildar was injured.

Zanskar, the only Buddhist majority area in the Shia-dominated Kargil district, had been simmering with tension after about 28 Buddhists of five families had converted to Islam in the remote Padum town on September 24.

"The curfew clamped on Tuesday evening is continuing. No untoward incident has been reported and the situation is limping back to normal," a police spokesperson told HT.
According to reports, 18 people, belonging to three families, had returned to the Buddhist fold after the intervention of local youths of the area.

"The converted families belonged to Gara and Beda castes, considered as low castes among Buddhists. They often complained of ill treatment especially by the older generation and had threatened of adopting Islam in the past also. However, it wasn't taken seriously by the local Buddhists," a senior Buddhist leader told HT from Padum, wishing not to be named.
Garas are traditionally blacksmiths while Bedas play music, and dance during weddings.

Zanskar has about 15,000 Buddhists.

The local Buddhists had asked the local clergy not take them in the Islamic fold. However, the clergy told them that since it was a voluntary act he couldn't stop them from doing so.

Padum had observed bandh on September 24 and 25.

Local authorities, sensing trouble, had imposed section 144, restricting a gathering of more than four people.
On Tuesday, Buddhists allegedly raised slogans against the minority community and some clashes were also reported, according to the police spokesperson.

Local Buddhists, especially young, have appealed to both the communities to maintain peace and are trying to convince the converts to get back to their fold.