Curfew was imposed in Jammu city after violence broke out in which over a dozen people were injured and property damaged by mobs during a bandh call on Friday.
The Army has been requested to help the administration in maintaining law and order and conduct flag marches in the city of temples, officials said. Curfew was imposed as authorities feared a communal backlash.
“Whereas, in view of prevailing law and order situation in district Jammu, there is every likelihood of a breach of peace, which may lead to acts of arson, targeting vehicles and causing loss of life and property. In order to maintain law and order, public tranquillity and to protect life and property of general public, I, Ramesh Kumar, IAS District Magistrate Jammu, in exercise of powers vested in me under section 144 Criminal Procedure Code hereby impose curfew in the area of whole Jammu city,” said the district magistrate in an order.
Several political parties and business organisations had called for a Jammu bandh on Friday against the deadly attack on a CRPF convoy in the Lethpora area on the Srinagar-Jammu highway on Thursday, in which 49 paramilitary personnel were killed while a dozen others were seriously injured.
An eye witness said that motorcycle-borne youth carrying the tri-colour pelted stones at vehicles and residential houses, and also set dozens of vehicles ablaze in Prem Nagar locality. He said that a mob had gathered in the area despite authorities announcing that a curfew was in force.
Reports said the trouble erupted when activists of Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and VHP took out a procession through Gujjar Nagar, predominantly inhabited by Muslims. The violent mob without any provocation started torching vehicles parked outside Jogi gate cremation ground, they said.
Internet services have been suspended in Jammu as a precautionary measure to avoid law and order situation, said an official.
Inspector General Police (IGP) Jammu, M K Sinha while appealing for calm said that some anti-national elements want to disturb the social harmony of Jammu.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah while appealing for peace, tweeted: “Giving vent to anger by attacking innocent people because of their ethnicity or religion is no way to honour the sacrifices yesterday. Reports of violence & arson in #Jammu are deeply worrying. I hope political leaders & civil society are able to ensure cooler heads prevail (sic).”
In another tweet, he said, “Kashmiris/Muslims in Jammu didn’t attack our CRPF jawans yesterday, terrorists did. This violence is a convenient tool for some to shift the blame. Let’s unite against terror let’s not allow terror to divide us.”
Omar’s rival and another former CM Mehbooba Mufti said she was distressed to hear about the situation emerging in Jammu. “Distressed to hear about miscreants in Jammu trying to take advantage of the situation by inciting tension. Guv adm should have preempted this by securing minority-dominated areas. Have spoken to IG Jammu to deploy additional security (sic), she tweeted.