The communal clashes that hit Jammu and Kashmir state on Friday left two dead and more than 60 people injured.
The clashes that began between two communities after the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers on Friday forced the state government to impose an indefinite curfew in the disrupted district, which continued for the second day on Saturday.
The situation worsened when the processions in Kuleed area in Kishtwar led to tensions in other districts, where people closed markets as a protest. The riots were put under control only after a flag march by the soldiers.
At around 10 am on Friday morning, people from surrounding villages of Kuleed, Bandirna and Hullar assembled at the Chowgan Grounds for congregational Eid prayers. After the prayers, a group of a community raised anti-national slogans, which was objected by locals belonging to another community.
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A major clash ensued as the people belonging to both the communities resorted to stone pelting. Some even ransacked the local shops, vehicles and set them on fire.
Over 80 shops and many vehicles, including a petrol tanker, police and fire service vehicles were torched by the mob. IANS reported that the chief education officer's headquarters was also set afire. Private firing with bore shotgun was also reported.
Police and CRPF
Jammu and Kashmir authorities turned to the Indian army after the local police found difficult to handle the situation even after the curfew was imposed. Over 500 army personnel from CRPF, Indian Reserve Police and Armed Police were deployed in the district on Friday, according to a PTI report. They used batons and teargas besides firing in the air to disperse the mob in various locations of the district.
"Situation is very tense and efforts are being made to bring it under control," a police official had told PTI.
As the army tried to take charge as soon as it was deployed around noon, the riots did not calm down until Friday evening when the army staged a flag march in to the town around 7.30 pm.
The communal clashes left two persons, one from each community, dead and over 60 people injured. However, a section of the media claimed that more than 80 persons, including 40 belonging to the police and the CRPF, were injured.
Police officials told The Hindu that a 23-year-old youth, son of a local BSP leader Desraj Bhagat, succumbed to gunshot injuries. There is still confusion whether he died due to the police firing or was hit by a private weapon.
The other person, who died during the clash, was set ablaze by the mob in Kishtwar. His body was not recovered from the Chowgan Grounds until late on Friday night.
The J&K government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakh in favour of the families of the deceased.
Course of Action
All the educational institutions in Jammu province were closed on Saturday following an administrative order. Basheer Khan is the new District Magistrate and Sanjay Kumar Kotwal was appointed as the new SP of Kishtwar, in a late night decision by the J&K administration.
Moreover, a top-level inquiry has been ordered into the clashes by the General Administration Department Secretary MA Bukhari.
"It is hereby ordered that Jammu Divisional Commissioner Shantmanu is appointed... to inquire into the incidents of violence and arson and the consequent loss of life and property that took place in Kishtwar. The inquiry officer shall submit his report within a period of three weeks," he told PTI.
Meanwhile, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah got into a spat with the Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj on micro-blogging site Twitter. They exchanged tweets till BJP President Rajnath Singh intervened and said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ahas assured action.
The J&K BJP wing along with some other political parties has announced a shutdown in the state on Saturday to protest against the communal clashes. Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Geelani has also reportedly announced a shutdown in the state to protest against the Kishtwar clashes.