Fresh protests in Jammu; Amarnath Yatra resumes

Fresh protests against arrests in connection with the Kishtwar communal-strife rocked Jammu, Aknoor, Ramnagar and Samba areas.

Kishtwar/Jammu: Fresh protests against arrests in connection with the Kishtwar communal-strife on Tuesday rocked Jammu, Aknoor, Ramnagar and Samba areas even as curfew was relaxed in several towns of the Jammu region.

The protesters burnt tyres and raised anti-government slogans, police said.

"We are not thinking of lifting of curfew in Kishtwar district. The situation in Jammu will be reviewed later today," Divisional Commissioner, Jammu region, Shantmanu told a news agency.

"Curfew has been relaxed in several towns in Jammu region for different periods. The situation is under control. There are no reports of any major untoward incident from anywhere during past 24 hours," he said.

Curfew was relaxed between two to six hours in Samba, Udhampur, Reasi, Billawar, Bani, Basholi, Kathua and Sunderbani areas, police officials said, adding that no curfew relaxation was given in Jammu, Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Prem Nagar areas.

Meanwhile, Amarnath yatra resumed today from Jammu after three days of suspension with a fresh batch of 225 pilgrims leaving for cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas amid tight security.

Ten persons including an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) were injured in clashes yesterday with protestors in Kishtwar district where 11 arrests were made in connection with Friday`s communal strife.

"111 persons have been arrested in Jammu in connection with violent incidents and protests during past few days," Principal Secretary (Home), Suresh Kumar told reporters last night.

Three persons were killed and a total of 68 shops, 7 hotels and 35 vehicles damaged during the communal violence in Kishtwar district.

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had said yesterday the state government has decided to order a judicial inquiry into the Kishtwar clashes.

In Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) workers led by it chief Balwant Singh Mankotia defied the curfew and sat on a dharna in Gandhi Nangar area, demanding dismissal of the state government and imposition of Governor`s rule.

Jammu Bar Association president MK Bhaderwaj alleged that minors have been picked up by the police in the city, particularly in Janipur police station area.

"The state government should not resort to mass arrests. I have talked to IGP of Jammu in this regard", he said.

Under fire for his alleged role in the Kishtwar communal flare-up, Minister of State for Home Sajad Kitchloo had resigned yesterday. BJP and some Congress leaders had demanded that Kitchloo be removed pending an impartial inquiry into the riots.