At least seven shops were burnt and one person was injured in a communal clash in Bhoondh village, Kathua district, about 200 kilometres from Jammu city, after cows were found slaughtered on Monday morning, a day before the Eid. The army and paramilitary forces were deployed soon after the incident.
According to police reports, a resident who had gone into a jungle in search of his livestock noticed some Gujjars, a local nomadic Muslim tribe, moving suspiciously and carrying bags. When he asked them what they were carrying, they dropped those plastic bags and ran away without answering, reports said.
Reports said that the resident then found the parts of a cow, which was allegedly slaughtered a few hours back, in those bags. He later informed the people of the Hindu community in the village. Members of the community reached there and found more parts in the vicinity.
A mob gathered there soon and set ablaze seven temporary shops of the Muslim community. Both sides threw stones at each other. Officials of the district administration, headed by deputy commissioner Shahid Iqbal, later reached the spot and monitored the situation. Iqbal said one person had been arrested and the other accused would be held soon.
"Some shops were set ablaze. The police recovered the weapon used for slaughtering the cows. We held talks with both communities and the situation is under control now. We have assured residents that the other accused will also be arrested soon," Iqbal said.
He informed that as a precautionary measure, the army and the paramilitary forces would be patrolling the area at night. He stated that the district administration had decided to impose Section-144 (not allowing grouping of more than four people at night) of the Ranbir Penal Code.
According to official sources, most of the protestors were not residents of the village. A bandh was observed in the neighbouring Basholi, Bani and Mahanpur areas. Residents of Billawar also blocked roads in protest.