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Kishtwar burns, but Omar govt gets Centre's backing

The Centre came out firmly in support of the Omar government ruling out any external or terror link to the communal clashes that have engulfed the Jammu region injuring eight more people. HT reports. Religious freedom is being curbed in Kishtwar, Valley: Geelani

india Updated: Aug 13, 2013 07:34 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Narendra Modi,Arun Jaitley,Kishtwar

The Centre on Monday came out firmly in support of the Omar government ruling out any external or terror link to the communal clashes that have engulfed the Jammu region and continued for the fourth day on Monday, injuring eight more people.

In a fallout of the riots that started on the Eid Friday, Jammu and Kashmir's minister of state for home Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, accused of inciting violence which has claimed three lives, put in his papers.

Governor NN Vohra has accepted the resignation of Kitchloo, who is also the local MLA.

Kishtwar is a communally sensitive area. While Muslims are in a majority in the town, the surrounding villages are Hindu-dominated.

In Delhi, the communal flare-up led to repeated disruptions in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, with the Opposition warning the government that the Kishtwar incident shouldn't be viewed merely as an inter-community clash.

The country's "sovereignty and integrity" was at stake, the BJP said.

"I can tell you if it does not stop in this region, it would send a signal of the kind it happened in the Valley in 1990 -- which still hangs around our neck as a garland of shame," leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

Interview:Religious freedom is being curbed in Kishtwar, valley: Geelani

The BJP leader was referring to the time when Kashmiri Pandits started moving out of the Valley.

The views were echoed by many other leaders including the BSP chief Mayawati, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Congress' Karan Singh and D Raja of the CPI.

Responding to the members concerns, finance minister P Chidambaram, standing in for indisposed home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, said the situation in the state "though tense" was under control.

Police stops members of Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association who tried to stage a protest march against the Kishtwar clash at Lal Chowk in Srinagar. (PTI Photo)

"We will not allow repetition of 1990. We will not allow forced migration. We will not allow forced resettlement."

In Kishtwar town, four police men were injured in a mob attack late Sunday night. Miscreants also took away eight wireless sets and some ammunition.

A few hours later, two policemen and two locals were injured in the neighbouring Haryal village when the two sides clashed over the detention of a youth. Though rest of the region remained peaceful, curfew continues in 14 towns of 10 districts of Jammu.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah, who has ordered a judicial inquiry, was asked by the Centre to deploy adequate security forces and ensure that the violence didn't spread to new areas.

The violence started on August 9, when some people raised anti-India slogans in Kishtwar town, which was already tense after a clash during a kalash yatra.

The unrest spread to other parts of the district and Jammu region.

READ: All-party delegation to visit Kishtwar
READ: Chidambaram, Jaitley face off in Parliament

READ: Kishtwar fallout: Police swoop on separatists in Kashmir
READ: Chidambaram, Kurien spar in Rajya Sabha over Kishtwar
READ: SC to hear plea for providing security to pilgrims in Kishtwar
READ: Yasin Malik, JKLF supporters detained before protest march
READ: Centre asks J-K to ensure peace by deploying adequate forces

First Published: Aug 12, 2013 16:07 IST