Day 5: Curfew continues in Jammu, 11 held

. Jammu: IANS

Curfew continued in eight districts of Jammu region Tuesday even as the annual Amarnath Yatra resumed after three days, officials said. Eleven people have been arrested in connection with the communal clashes in Kishtwar.

The Amarnath Yatra had remained suspended for the last three days.

"The Amarnath Yatra resumed early today (Tuesday). 225 pilgrims were allowed to move from here to the Valley around 4.30 a.m. this morning," a police official said.

"The pilgrims moved in six buses and one light vehicle. Adequate security has been provided to ensure their safety," he said.

Normal traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar highway has still not resumed. Traffic on the Pathankot-Jammu and Jammu-Srinagar highway was halted following tension along the road after the Kishtwar violence Friday.

Curfew continued in the eight districts of Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Reasi, Udhampur, Rajouri, Doda and Kishtwar districts of Jammu region. Loudspeaker-fitted police vehicles announced in the morning that curfew was in force in these districts and that people should remain indoors.

While curfew continued for the fifth day in Kishtwar district where it was imposed Friday following communal clashes, in other districts it continued for the fourth day Tuesday.

No curfew was imposed in Ramban and Poonch districts of Jammu region in the aftermath of the Kishtwar clashes.

The Doda district magistrate said no curfew has been imposed in Doda town, although the same was imposed as a precautionary measure in Gandoh, Thatri, Prem Nagar and Bhaderwah areas of the district.

Authorities Monday evening relaxed curfew for three hours in Samba district after which it was re-imposed. In all other parts of Kathua district, except the main town, curfew was relaxed for two hours Monday evening.

In Reasi district, curfew was relaxed for three hours, while in Udhampur, authorities relaxed curfew for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.

"Except for some stray incidents in Kishtwar town and Raipur area of Jammu district, the situation remained completely peaceful elsewhere Monday," an administrative officer told IANS.

"In fact, prominent citizens and civil society members from both the communities have already started carrying out peace marches at some places to defuse tensions," he said.

Reports reaching here from the hilly Kishtwar town said a vehicle hired by police was Monday set ablaze by miscreants at Shalimar Chowk, five km from Kishtwar town.

Police arrested 11 people in connection with the communal clashes in Kishtwar. The arrested include Abdul Qayoom Mattu, a separatist leader police allege was responsible for instigating people to violence.

Protestors including women and children defied curfew in Kishtwar town Monday to protest the arrests. The protestors engaged police in stone pelting, in which two police officers including an additional superintendent of police and a deputy superintendent of police were injured.

Five protestors were also injured. The army later carried out a flag march in the area to restore order.

Meanwhile, mobile internet services remained suspended throughout the state for the third day Tuesday.

While authorities said the services have been suspended to check rumour-monging, professionals, academicians, students and journalists have criticised the suspension, saying it amounted to pushing the state into the another Stone Age.

"When information is gagged, rumours always run wild. I wonder what they want to achieve by this internet suspension, except for telling the world that Jammu and Kashmir is being pushed into another Stone Age," said an academician.

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