Protests broke out in several parts of the country on Friday against the terror attack in Pulwama district of South Kashmir. Jammu was the epicentre of the people’s outburst as curfew had to be imposed there following massive violence during the day-long bandh call given by Chamber of Commerce and Industries. Protesters burned dozens of vehicles and shops and damaged properties.
In Delhi, protesters gathered at India Gate on Friday afternoon raising anti-Paksitan slogans. A group of protesters demonstrated outside Pakistan’s embassy in Delhi.
Spontaneous protest also broke out in Mumbai, Amritsar, Patna, Varanasi, Ranchi, Hyderabad and several other cities. But it was Jammu, which saw massive arson and violence through the day. The situation became explosive after scuffle broke between members of two groups during the bandh call. As police authorities deployed in the area failed to contain the situation, even after lobbing teargas shells, angry protesters resorted to violence and torched vehicles parked outside Jogi gate area.
Over two dozen different vehicles were set on fire in Gujjar Nagar, Residency Road, and other parts of Jammu. Several protesters received injuries during stone pelting between the two groups in Gujjar Nagar area.
Mobile Internet services, however, remained suspended in Jammu as a precautionary measure to avoid law and order situation.
As the angry protesters spread to different parts of Jammu city and raised roadblocks by burning tyres and other materials, the district authorities, moving swiftly, requisitioned services of army personnel to restore order in the area.
Security was beefed up across sensitive areas of Jammu city to prevent clashes.
Defence Spokesman in Jammu, Lt Col Devendra Anand in a statement said, “ after violence broke out in major parts of Jammu city curfew was imposed and Army was requisitioned by civil authorities of Jammu to bring the situation under control.
He said, the Army reacted promptly and in a swift action, nine Internal Security Columns of Army from Tiger Division along with air support from White Knight Corps were deployed in Gujjar Nagar, Janipur, Shahidi Chowk, Talab Khatika and other areas”.
“Flag marches were also conducted by the IS columns. Helicopters and UAVs of Army were also put into operation to monitor the situation”.
Lt-Col Anand said, “The proactive approach jointly taken by J&K Police, Civil administration (Divisional Commissioner and District Collector’s office) and Indian Army has ensured that the situation remains in control and peaceful.”
Before the arrival of army columns, protesters, particularly in the old city, refused to disperse even after loudspeakers announced that curfew was imposed.
Meanwhile, Jammu witnessed complete shutdown on Friday while its adjoining areas and neighboring districts witnessed protest demonstrations during the day. Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi areas also witnessed protest demonstrations.
Before the situation took violent turn Jammu city was rocked by massive anti-Pakistan protests with people taking to the streets in dozens of places, including Jewel Chowk, Purani Mundi, Rehari, Shaktinagar, Pacca Danga, Janipur, Gandhinagar and Bakshinagar.
Bar Association Jammu had also supported the strike call issued against the killing of CRPF troopers in a major attack in Lethpora area of Awantipora in south Kashmir. Activists of different political organisations also demanded stern action against Pakistan and appealed to the Prime Minister to give a befitting reply to Pakistan.