Situation is under control in Jammu city, where curfew had be imposed on Friday following violence in some areas in the wake reports of arson and stone pelting, the district officials said on Saturday. Jammu deputy commissioner Ramesh Kumar said the curfew will continue during the day and a decision to lift restrictions will be taken in the evening after assessing the situation.
“Situation is under control since last evening. Earlier, there were some peaceful protests but in the afternoon they turned violent and some vehicles were set afire. Curfew will continue. People have been requested not to come out of their homes. They have been told not to believe in rumours and cooperate with the administration to restore normalcy. Educational institutions are closed,” Kumar told HT.
He also said that security to civil secretariat employees and Kashmiris in Jammu was being provided. “No mischievous element will be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere. Security forces have been deployed in strength and religious places besides Kashmiri employees are being given focused attention,” he said.
On Saturday morning the winter capital wore a deserted look. Jammu city has 75 municipal wards. Security forces and army have been deployed across the city and their strength was more in sensitive areas.
Concertina wires were laid on various roads of the city to check movement of the people. Army helicopters also hovered over the city to monitor the situation. Mobile internet remains suspended while broadband speed has also been curtailed to check rumour-mongers.
Gujjar Nagar of Jammu was the centre of violence. Several vehicles were torched by an angry mob of protesters, who claimed that they were attacked by another group. The protesters, police had said on Friday, were raising slogans in a densely populated area in the wake of a terror attack in South Kashmir’s Pulwama killing at least 40 security personnel.
The Army was immediately called out to assist the civil administration to restore order in the city. Curfew was initially imposed in some vulnerable areas, but was later extended to the entire city as tension mounted in the wake of violence against a particular section of the society.
Soldiers in combat uniform with weapons were seen dotting the city’s vantage points. The army had also put up a red-coloured banner at busy Bikram Chowk that read in Hindi and English, “if you cross the line, you will be fired upon.” The Army later removed it.
The Indian Army has deployed its 15 columns comprising 1,095 soldiers along with air support in Jammu. The Army reacted promptly and in a swift action, nine internal security columns from Tiger Division along with air support from White Knight Corps were deployed in Gujjar Nagar, Janipur, Shahidi Chowk, Talab Khatikan and other areas on Friday itself.
“Now a total of 15 columns are out on the streets of Jammu city,” said Defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand adding, “Three columns have been kept on a stand-by.” One column comprises 70 soldiers, two JCOs (junior commissioned officer) and an officer.
“Flag marches were also conducted by the army columns. Helicopters and UAVs of Army were also put into operation to monitor the situation. The proactive approach jointly taken by J&K Police, civil administration and Indian Army has ensured that the situation remains under control and peaceful,” said Anand.