Curfew clamped in five more districts in Jammu, Kishtwar out of bounds

Curfew was clamped in five more districts in Jammu region on Sunday and Army staged flag marches.

Jammu: Curfew was clamped in five more districts in Jammu region on Sunday and Army staged flag marches as the administration declared violence-rocked Kishtwar out of bounds for politicians, detaining BJP leader Arun Jaitley at the airport here and sending him back to Delhi.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah flew to the winter capital and reviewed the situation, directing stern action against those disturbing peace.

One more body was found in Kishtwar, scene of communal clashes, which remained curfew-bound for the third consecutive day today but authorities were yet to find out whether he died in violence.

The Chief Minister also said it was being ascertained whether he died in clashes or due to some other reasons.

Curfew was imposed in Kishtwar after Friday`s clashes that left two dead and scores injured.

Last night, curfew was clamped in Jammu and Rajouri districts and the Army was called out after incidents of arson and violence.

It was extended today to Udhampur, Samba, Kathua and Bhaderwah town in Doda, affecting 8 out of 10 districts in Jammu region.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was detained as he arrived at the airport here on his way to Kishtwar, drawing sharp reaction from the BJP which termed it as undemocratic.

He was sent back to Delhi at around 1545 hours by flight, officials said.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab Avinash Rai Khanna, who was to accompany Jaitley to Kishtwar, was also detained by police while he was trying to enter Kathua this morning.

PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti claimed she was prevented from leaving her house in Srinagar for visiting violence-hit areas in Jammu region.

Divisional Commissioner (Jammu) Shantmanu said
that curfew had been clamped in Udhampur, Kathua and Samba districts as a precautionary measure.

Army had also been deployed in these areas to assist the local administration, he said.

Later in the afternoon, curfew was imposed in Reasi and Doda districts.

There were some incidents of stone-pelting and minor clashes with police in some parts of Jammu in which one person was injured.

Body of one Rajinder was found in New Plot area early this morning and people alleged he died when teargas shells were fired by police midnight last night.

But, police said he was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

"The situation in curfew-bound areas remains by and large peaceful. There is no report of any major untoward incident from anywhere," officials said.

The Chief Minister, who rushed to Jammu with senior ministerial colleagues, reviewed the security situation and directed stern action against those disturbing peace.

He directed the administration to be on high alert to thwart attempts of those trying to vitiate the atmosphere for their own vested interests.

Omar dismissed suggestions that the administration was lax in responding to the violence, saying the procedures laid down had to be followed.

"The fact that we were able to restore calm within hours is indicative of the swiftness of the action," he said.

Omar alleged political parties were trying to exploit people`s sentiments to polarise them.

The Chief Minister asked people not to believe in rumours with regard to the situation in Kishtwar and other areas.

Vowing to ensure swift action against those involved in violence, the Chief Minister said his government had decided not to allow political leaders to visit the violence-hit areas as this had the potential to deteriorate the situation.

"And that includes Arun Jaitley too," he said soon after the BJP leader was detained at Jammu airport.

Omar, however, said he would be open to participation of the politicians if they had come with the intention of helping to improve the situation.

"The truth is that they are not. Their only aim is to try and exploit this for their own political purposes. They have absolutely no human interest at heart," he said.

BJP activists, who had come to receive Jaitley at the airport, held a protest against their leaders`s detention.

Mobile Internet services in the state were suspended following tension in Jammu region.

In Kashmir Valley, normal life remained affected for the second consecutive day due to shutdown called by hardline Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

State Congress chief Saif-uddin-Soz appealed for peace and asked the government to hold a probe to unmask those who created such a situation in Kishtwar.

His party had formed peace brigades at various levels to reach out to the people and help restore normalcy in the state, Soz told reporters here.