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Army stages flag marches

Army staged flag marches in Samba and Bhaderwah towns and curfew clamped in more areas as the region remained tense in stepped-up violence against the Amarnath land transfer revocation.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Jammu
UPDATED ON JUL 02, 2008 10:54 PM IST

Army staged flagmarches in Samba and Bhaderwah towns and curfew clamped in more areas today as Jammu region remained tense in stepped-up violence against the Amarnath land transfer revocation leaving 50 persons injured.

The Army was called in by the district administration after BJP, VHP and Shiv Sena activists intensified protests fighting pitched battles with police and defying curfew at several places.

Thirteen persons including a CRPF jawan who were hit in a grenade attack by militants on a rally in Bhaderwah in Doda district were among the 50 injured.

Curfew was also clamped in Bhaderwah and Samba and army called in following communal clashes, the grenade attack and an incident of a mob torching five mud houses. Curfew was also extended to new areas in Jammu town.

Unidentified militants hurled a grenade on some 400 BJP activists and temple committee members returning to Laxmi Narain mandir in Bhaderwah after a rally, officials said. Four of the critically injured in the grenade attack were airlifted to Jammu Government Medical College hospital.

Over 70 people were arrested across the Jammu region and 50 people including 15 policemen and a CRPF constable were injured in the violence, officials said.

Officials said Jammu-Srinagar, Jammu-Poonch and Jammu- Pathankot highways were also blocked with Kashmiri migrants and activists of Hindu groups squatting at various points.

Police fired in the air, used batons and teargassed stone pelting protesters at Muthi and Shastri Nagar in Jammu town. The protestors were also demanding removal of Governor N N Vohra for revoking the Amarnath land transfer.

The Kashmir valley after witnessing violence for over a week was peaceful for the second day today with no untoward incident reported in connection with the Amarnath land row.

Jammu university was closed for two days in view of the prevailing situation.

The rallyists at Bhaderwah got into a clash with stone-pelting youths in Sofi Ziyarat locality and police had to fire in the air to break them up. Five people were hurt in the clash.

Doda Deputy Commissioner Khursheed Bhat said curfew was imposed and army and CRPF personnel deployed in sensitive areas of Bhaderwah in view of the situation.

Protesters torched five mud houses of the nomadic Gujjar Muslims in Madhan area and pelted stones on vehicles and burnt tyres on the Jammu-Pathankote highway, officials said.

They also clashed with police in several places in the area in which 9 people including 4 policemen were injured, they said adding authorities later clamped curfew and asked the army to stage a flag march in the town.

The curfew in Jammu was extended to Bari Brahamana and Vijaypur areas in apprehension of communal violence.

Defying the curfew restrictions, over 1,200 Kashmiri pandits, including women, took out a protest rally from the migrant camps of Muthi, Purkhoo and Nagrota in Jammu district.

They held a demonstration in front of Congress MP Madan Lal Sharma's house and burnt effigies of the Governor, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at Muthi.

Police fired a few rounds in the air in Muthi when canes and tear gas shells proved ineffective in dispersing the protesters, the officials said adding clashes were reported from several other areas where 15 people were injured.

Saffron activists enforced shutdowns in Katra, Reasi, Kishtwar, Kathua, Udhampur, Chenani, Rajouri, Poonch, Kalakote, Sunderbani, Akhnoor, R S Pura, Ramban, Batote and Hiranagar towns of Jammu region.

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