Police on Friday fired tear gas shells after a clash between BJP activists and members of the AIIMS coordination committee (ACC) on the first day of the 72-hour Jammu bandh call given by the latter.
The ACC, which has called the bandh to press for a separate All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in Jammu, went ahead despite Union health minister JP Nadda's announcement on Thursday that AIIMS-like facilities will be set up in the Jammu and Kashmir regions. It said that Nadda's statement was 'vague' and misleading and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of 'betraying' the people of Jammu.
About 250 members of the ACC, including lawyers, started raising slogans against the BJP as soon as they reached the party's headquarters. BJP workers too raised counter-slogans like 'BJP zindabad' after which the two sides got into an altercation. Police fired tear gas shells after some protesters began manhandling and hitting each other.
Police personnel trying to stop BJP workers and AIIMS coordination committee members outside the BJP office in Jammu on Friday.(Nitin Kanotra/HT Photo)
A strong contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force was later deployed at the BJP office.
This is the third time that a bandh is being observed in Jammu on the call given by the ACC and supported by the Bar Association as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
AIIMS committee members throwing stones on police after a clash with BJP workers outside the BJP office. (Nitin Kanotra/HT Photo)
The BJP said that the Centre has agreed to set up an AIIMS in Jammu but those with vested interests are exploiting the people for political gains. But the ACC said they will stick to their demands until a proper notification is issued for a separate AIIMS.
The Congress and National Conference has supported the bandh call.