Curfew has been clamped on Zanskar sub-division of Kargil district following violence and protests by local Buddhists on Saturday evening against the alleged abduction of an 18-year-old girl.
Police said the girl, who had been handed over to the family, admitted before the magistrate that she had eloped with the man, but had now decided to stay with her parents.
The unrest started on July 17 when word about the alleged abduction of the Buddhist girl by Mohammad Khan, working in Ladakh Scouts, surfaced at Padum town in Zanskar sub-division, 200 km from Kargil, and people came out on to the streets against it.
The parents complained to the police and a police party was sent to Kashmir on July 18, and the two were traced to Mehjoor Nagar area of Srinagar. They were brought back to Kargil on July 19 and were taken to Padum in a police escort on July 20.
The locals, along with her mother, assembled 10 km ahead of the town and demanded that the girl be handed over to them. However, the police reached Padum police station by another route. Following this a large number of protesters gathered at the police station.
The police told the protesters that the girl had to be taken before the local magistrate before being handed over to the family, which led to an altercation.
The protesters allegedly pelted the police with stones and also set afire two police vehicles. Three police personnel were injured. The police allegedly fired teargas shells and also some rounds in the air. As the situation turned violent, the curfew was clamped on the area.
A few policemen allegedly ransacked a few houses and restaurants. However, the Ladakh Buddhists Association (LBA) alleged that people from the Muslim community ransacked the properties of Buddhists.
The Kargil superintendent of police (SP) and deputy commissioner rushed to Padum.
SP Sujeet Kumar said, "The girl was handed over to the family after she recorded her statement before the court and the accused has been arrested. The curfew has been clamped on the area though the situation is normal."
A local Buddhist said had the police handed over the girl to her parents earlier the situation wouldn't have turned violent. But the police said they couldn't do so without the formalities.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Tarun Vijay has condemned the incident saying the home minister must visit Zanskar to meet the Buddhists, who were already hurt by the recent blasts at Bodh Gaya.
The LBA, in a memorandum to the President, has appealed to him to intervene in the matter and direct the home minister to visit the place. It was alleged that Buddhists in Zanskar were being persecuted.