Two persons were killed in police firing and several injured on Friday as fresh violence erupted in Jammu over the Amarnath land transfer row, prompting authorities to call in the army in Samba district.
The events took place even as Governor N.N. Vohra announced the shrine board would be handed back the responsibility of running the yatra.
Two protesters were killed and 13 injured as police opened fire to quell a mob in Samba, a town on the Jammu-Pathankote highway. The condition of two of the injured is stated to be critical.
In Jammu, people defied curfew orders and came out on the streets to protest the revocation of the land order. Fears of communal attacks increased sharply as thousands braved baton charges, police firing and teargas to storm Raj Bhavan and the airport.
At the airport, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti got a taste of Jammu’s ire over their parties’ role in the revocation of the land order. They were literally held hostage and could move out only after the authorities imposed curfew and posted several contingents of police and paramilitary forces on the road to Raj Bhavan, where they were headed for an all-party meeting to discuss the situation on the governor’s invitation.
Outside Raj Bhavan, police opened fire and lobbed teargas shells and resorted to baton charge to disperse the crowds. Officials described the situation as the most serious in decades.
There were some reports of communal clashes in Garkhal, a border belt, where a violent mob set afire more than half-a-dozen kullas (huts) of nomadic tribe people, and a subsequent clash left two people injured.
Meanwhile, the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti, which is spearheading the agitation, has questioned the Centre’s role in the whole mess. “Jammu has been burning for more than a month now but the Centre has made no attempt to douse the flames. More surprising, no central minister has visited the place,” said its convener Lila Karan Sharma.