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Amarnath killings: Protesters block highways, shout anti-govt slogans in Jammu

Amid anti-government slogans, the protesters burnt effigy of the state government and demanded imposition of Governor’s rule.

india Updated: Jul 12, 2017 00:19 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria, Jammu
Amarnath terror attack,Anantnag,Jammu and Kashmir
People shout slogans during a protest organised by Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party in Jammu on Tuesday. (REUTERS)

Public anger over the killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag spilled onto the streets of Jammu on Tuesday, with nine districts in the region – barring Kathua – witnessing partial bandhs. The Bar Association and Youth Congress have called for a bandh in Kathua district on Wednesday.

Angry protesters set tyres on fire and blocked the Jammu-Pathankot highway at Kathua and Samba, besides other roads in Doda. Agitations were also witnessed in the districts of Jammu, Udhampur, Rajouri, Poonch, Kishtwar, Ramban and Reasi.

In the state’s winter capital of Jammu, protesters burnt tyres and shouted slogans against the BJP-PDP government. Slogans like “BJP hai hai”, “Nawaz Sharif hai hai” and “Mehbooba Mufti hai hai” rent the air as the city witnessed a complete shutdown.

The protests were held by various organisations, including the Congress, Panthers Party, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the J&K High Court Bar Association. Judicial proceedings were also affected, with lawyers absenting themselves from the state high court and subordinate courts.

Panthers Party chairman Harsh Dev Singh led over 200 activists in holding demonstrations at Dogra Chowk in the city. “This is the biggest failure of the BJP-PDP government in J&K and the BJP government at the Centre on the security front. They should take responsibility not only for the terror attack but also for pushing Kashmir into the worst state of terror during the Modi rule,” Singh said, demanding that the Mehbooba Mufti government be sacked and immediate steps be taken to crack down on Kashmir’s terror infrastructure.

Over 500 Congress workers also took out a rally under the leadership of former minister Sham Lal Sharma in the city. They shouted slogans against the chief minister, burnt the state government in effigy, and demanded that governor’s rule be imposed on the state.

Lashing out at the PDP-government for failing to prevent the militant attack despite intelligence inputs, Sharma said: “Now the state government is trying to dodge the blame by claiming that the bus wasn’t part of the Yatra caravan. This is very unfortunate. The government should step down immediately to bring the situation under control and ensure the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage.”

Other protesters burnt Pakistani flags and demanded that Kashmir be handed over to the Army. “We want Kashmir to be handed over to the Army to stamp out terrorism. We condemn the attack. Those involved in the attack should be killed,” said VHP state president Leela Karan Sharma.

Several Kashmiri Pandit organisations – under the aegis of the All-Party Migrant Coordination Committee – held demonstrations at Tawi bridge in protest. J&K High Court Bar Association president BS Salathia led lawyers in staging a protest against the government. He asked the government to provide an ex-gratia amount of Rs 25 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 10 lakh to the injured.

The administration has ordered educational institutions to remain shut for the next two days, and suspended mobile Internet services in the region. Fearing a backlash, officials sent back Kashmiri trucks bound for the Jammu region on Monday night.

Paramilitary and police forces have been deployed in sensitive areas.

First Published: Jul 11, 2017 18:24 IST