Curfew was imposed in Jammu city on Friday as a precautionary measure following massive protests over the terror attack in Pulwama in the Kashmir Valley, PTI quoted officials as saying. “The Army has been requested to help the administration in maintaining law and order and conduct flag marches,” they said. At least 42 CRPF personnel were killed on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 350 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district that also left many critically wounded. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Curfew was clamped as authorities feared a communal backlash, officials said. Protesters, particularly in the old city, refused to disperse even after loudspeakers announced that curfew was imposed. Curfew was imposed at Nawabad, Bakshi Nagar, Peer Mitha, Pacca Danga, Channi Himmat, Janipur, Domana, Gujjar Nagar, Malik Market and Bagh-E-Bahu areas.
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“The trouble erupted when a group of people belonging to various organisations including Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and VHP took out a procession carrying tricolour through Gujjar Nagar, which is predominantly inhabited by Muslims,” the Indian Express reported.
IGP Jammu asked people to maintain calm. “Don't play into the hands of anti- national elements. They want to disturb our societal harmony. Defeat their designs. Don’t get provoked. Maintain calm,” he said.
More than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in south Kashmir.
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Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the Jammu violence and said need of the hour is to show compassion. “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,” she tweeted.
“It will be a travesty & against the spirit of our secular ethno-cultural values to use this terror attack as an excuse to target minorities. Hour of the need is to show compassion & come together (sic),” she said.