Zanskar town in Kargil is once again tense after apparently remaining calm for a month. According to reports, Buddhist protesting against fishing in Saini lake, considered a holy lake by local populace, were lathicharged on Wednesday evening. Over 24 people, including women, were injured. Some reports suggest that curfew has been imposed but local authorities denied it.
"The situation is normal and peaceful. Curfew wasn't imposed," newly appointed SDM Zanskar Bhupinder Kumar said. On being asked if any action was taken against the police official, he said: "Beyond that I can't comment."
According to locals, some police personnel led by deputy superintendent of police Sanjeev Kumar, IRP-20 battalion, were found fishing in the lake on November 27. The lake is said to be a sacred spot for Buddhists, who believe that the spirit of Guru Renpoche, a founder of Mahayana Buddhism in Tibet, resides in it.
Locals of Sani village said they requested the police personnel against this activity. However, as locals continued to protest, they allegedly started beating them up, in which many women were also injured.
On Wednesday, some women from the Buddhist community had approached the SDM, requesting him to allow them to take out a peace march but were denied the permission. The locals said SDM did not give them the permission because of the forthcoming legislative council elections, scheduled on December 3.
Blaming the administration for failing to take an immediate action against the police personnel, Tsering Namgail, sarpanch of Salati, Sani Village said, "They should have understood the situation. We have gone through a fierce conflict following the issue of conversion and that shouldn't be happen again. Police personnel have to cooperate with both the communities (Muslim and Buddhist) in maintaining peace in the valley."
Last month, curfew was imposed for days after clashes between Muslims and Buddhist, after some Buddhist families converted to Islam.