Communal violence continued in Jammu for the third day on Sunday as the death toll climbed to three, indefinite curfew was clamped in more areas and a political war of words broke out with chief minister Omar Abdullah stopping BJP leader Arun Jaitley's passage to the riot-hit town of Kishtwar.
The unrest that erupted in Kishtwar, 150km southeast of Srinagar, after prayers marking the end of Ramzan on Friday has now engulfed 14 towns of Jammu's 10 districts, including Jammu city.
Stores and buildings were torched and protesters defied curfew and clashed with the police. Mobile internet services were suspended and Jammu University postponed its examinations.
Lassa Mohammad, 40, injured in clashes in Paddar, 60km from Kishtwar, died Saturday night. Army troops, already deployed in several parts of the region, were moved there following his death.
Stopped from leaving the airport, Jaitley was forced to take a flight back to Delhi on Sunday evening.
In Srinagar, the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister termed Jaitley's visit politically motivated. Without naming names, Abdullah said, "Their entire aim seems to be to recreate the conditions of 2008 (Amarnath land row agitation) so they can exploit it in the Parliament (polls) and assembly elections."
"I can name incidents of communal riots in other states this year. Have they been to those areas? Why is it they single out J&K, particularly Jammu?"
The BJP's J&K in-charge Avinash Khanna, who was to accompany Jaitley to Kishtwar, was denied entry to the state. Mehbooba Mufti, who leads the opposition PDP, was also not allowed to move to Kishtwar.
"Jaitley and the party will raise this issue in Parliament," BJP state unit president MLA Jugal Kishore said.
Demanding a credible inquiry into the communal flare-up, the Congress' state chief Saif-ud-din Soz said he would request the CM to allow him to visit Kishtwar.
"Curfew has been imposed in all major towns of Jammu province. Relaxation will be given only after reviewing the situation on Monday," divisional commissioner Jammu Shantmanu told HT.