Kishtwar had been sitting on powder keg for 12 days | india | Hindustan Times
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Kishtwar had been sitting on powder keg for 12 days

india Updated: Aug 14, 2013 00:04 IST
Tarun Upadhyay
Tarun Upadhyay
Hindustan Times
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Intelligence agencies had given the administration enough warning about sectarian disturbances breaking out in Kishtwar town, 250 km from Jammu city, before the violence of August 9.

And 12 days before the first riot, two communities clashed on alleged misbehaviour with women during the localised annual Kalash yatra. Bikes of youths belonging to the communities were set on fire and the route of the yatra was diverted.

People from other parts of the Jammu region arriving for the annual pilgrimage to Machail (in the hills), about 70 km from Kishtwar town, were asked by local taxidrivers to return, warning them of clashes.

For the past two months there were rumours that stones were thrown at the homes of some members of a community. Rumours continued even during the holy month of Ramzan.

Five days before the August 9 riots, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, addressing a crowd after sectarian violence in Budgam, said: “Elements behind (sectarian) tension expand their activities as soon as elections draw nearer. They want to polarise society, create conflicts between various sections, sects, faiths, regions and castes, keeping an eye on votes.”