Monday, August 12, 2013

Kishtwar violence: Will not allow repeat of 1990 in J&K, Chidambaram says

NEW DELHI: Aug 12, 2013(7STARNEWS)Insisting that the situation in violence-hit Jammu and Kashmir is under control, the Centre on Monday said it will extend all help to the state government in maintaining law and order and asserted that the repeat of forced migration witnessed in 1990 will not be allowed.

Finance minister P Chidambaram, who made a statement in Rajya Sabha on behalf of indisposed home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, defended the decision of the state government not to allow BJP leader Arun Jaitley to visit Kishtwar town, the scene of communal violence.

Responding to concerns expressed by members over violence in the state, he said the situation in Kishtwar was \"near normal\" and no untoward incident had been reported since August 9.

While noting that violence had been witnessed in some other parts of Jammu province, the minister said, \"Overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir is tense but under control.\"

He said sufficient Army contingents had been deployed in violence-hit areas and they conducted flag marches to instill confidence.

\"The central government will extend all support to the state government to maintain law and order and ensure peace and harmony in the state,\" he said.

He sought to dismiss apprehensions that the situation could go out of hand and lead to a repeat of 1990 when the entire Kashmir Pandit community was forced to leave the valley.

\"We will not allow repetition of 1990. We will not allow forced migration. We will not allow forced resettlement,\" he asserted.

Stating that a judicial inquiry into the communal clashes in Kishtwar district would be conducted, Chidambaram said the state government would be asked to make it a \"credible inquiry\".

Earlier, Members in Rajya Sabha on Monday voiced concern over violence in Kishtwar area of Jammu and Kashmir with opposition saying the country\'s \"sovereignty and integrity\" was at stake and the matter should not be dismissed as an inter-community clash.

Initiating an impromptu debate in the House, leader of the opposition Arun Jaitley alleged that the state government had failed to take appropriate measures to control the violence and warned that it should not be a repeat of 1990 when an entire minority community was compelled to leave Kashmir valley.

\"The violence in Kishtwar and adjoining areas involves the sovereignty and integrity of the country and should not be seen only as a clash between two communities,\" Jaitley said.

Comparing the events to the violence in 1990 in the valley that had \"compelled a community to leave\", he said when the violence occurred last week, the state government officials had not taken enough measures to control the situation.

He said there are reports that a senior functionary of the government could be involved and demanded this aspect be probed.

\"This incidence is not just an inter-community conflict,\" Jaitley said, adding that flags of another country were waved and pictures of a convict given death sentence displayed.

He sought to know why no arrest was made though hundreds of shops have been gutted and many people injured.

\"People were crying out of helplessness,\" he said, adding, the situation was out of control due to which the injured could not be admitted to the civil hospital and were rushed to the military hospital.

Jaitley sought to know if the government was trying to impose censorship by not allowing him and other leaders to visit the area.

He recalled that in the past when such a situation arose then home minister Shivraj Patil and later his successor P Chidambaram had taken all-party delegations to help people exhaust their anger and calm down tempers but now an \"iron curtain\" has been imposed so that nobody enters the state.

Hitting out at the state government, Jaitley said the state of Jammu and Kashmir is not property of any one family.

He said India is not a \"banana republic\" where an indefinite order is issued under Section 144 banning a person from entering Jammu region.

Sajad Kitchloo resigns

Jammu and Kashmir minister of state for Home Sajad Kitchloo on Monday submitted his resignation to chief minister Omar Abdullah pending judicial inquiry into Kishtwar communal violence.

\"I have received Sajaad Kitchloo\'s resignation asking to be relieved of his responsibilities pending the outcome of the judicial inquiry,\" Omar wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.

The resignation has been forwarded to governor N N Vohra for acceptance, Omar said.

\"I am forwarding the same to the Hon. Governor with the recommendation that it be accepted,\" he added.

BJP had demanded that Kitchloo be removed pending an impartial inquiry on his alleged role in the riots in Kishtwar.

Kitchloo, representative of National Conference from Kishtwar assembly constituency, was induced in the cabinet early this year.

Curfew continues in 6 districts of Jammu region

Curfew remained in force in six districts of Jammu region amid deployment of Army even as ten people were arrested in connection with communal clashes in Kishtwar.

However, in Udhampur district, two-hour relaxation was given in the morning which passed off peacefully, official said.

\"Curfew continues in several districts of Jammu region — the situation is limping back to normalcy. No untoward incident has been reported from anywhere,\" divisional commissioner, Jammu region, Shantmanu said.

He, however, said curfew was relaxed in Udhampur for two-hours from 6am to 8am, that passed off peacefully.

\"A total of 68 shops, 7 hotels and 35 vehicles have been damaged during the untoward incident and 3 causalities have been reported so far (in communal violence in Kishtwar district\", Shantmanu added.

Meanwhile, ten persons were arrested in connection with communal violence in Kishtwar.

\"Ten miscreants have been arrested for their involvement in Kishtwar communal violence—and process of further arrests is on\", state\'s principal secretary home, Suresh Kumar said.

The FIRs have been been already registered and investigation is going on, he said.

Apart from curfew in six districts of Kishtwar, Jammu, Rajouri, Udhampur, Samba and Reasi, restrictions under 144 CrPc were imposed in Kathua and Doda district on Sunday night.

Some parts of Doda district were also under curfew. Army has been patrolling the streets in various towns, including Jammu to strictly impose curfew and maintain law and order.

In Kishtwar, curfew has entered 4th day on Monday as it was imposed on Friday last in wake of communal violence in which three persons were killed and over 20 persons were injured.

In Jammu and Rajouri, curfew was imposed on Saturday night in wake of communal clashes and Reasi, Udhampur, Samba and Bhaderwah valley of Doda district came under curfew on Sunday.
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