Jammu : A protester was killed and over a dozen others injured on Thursday in a clash between security forces and a group of Sikhs who blocked roads here against removal of a poster with a picture of late militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The incident sparked off more protests in the city and authorities called in the army to carry out a flag march.
The protester, identified as Jagjit Singh, son of Narveer Singh, resident of Chohala in RS Pura, was killed when police opened fire in Gadigarh (Satwari) area as protesters indulged in violence injuring three policemen, police said. The condition of the three has been described as critical by doctors, police said here.
Sikh protesters had blocked the Jammu-RS Pura road at Gadigarh by erecting road blocks and burning old tyres on the highway. They were agitating against the removal of Bhindranwale posters in the area by police on Wednesday.
An angry protester had attacked police assistant sub-inspector Arun Kumar with a knife in Satwari area of Jammu city on Wednesday, following which tension mounted among the Sikh community here.
Senior police and civil administration officials, including the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police, reached the spot. Reinforcements of police and the Central Reserve Police Force have been sent to the area to prevent further violence.
After the news of the protester’s death spread, Sikh protesters blocked the Jammu-Pathankote national highway in Raj Bagh area in Kathua district. They also took to the streets in Sikh-dominated Nanak Nagar, Digiana and Golgujral areas of Jammu city.
The army carried out a flag march in Satwari area Thursday evening after the civil administration requested assistance. “Army carried out a flag march on the road from R S Pura to Satwari due to the prevailing internal security situation. The district administration had requisitioned the army to instil confidence in the people,” an army statement said.
Ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti has condoled the death of the protester and appealed to all sections of the society to maintain calm and communal harmony in the city. Condemning the killing of a Sikh youth, SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar said the entire Sikh community firmly stands with the protesting Sikhs in Jammu.
He also alleged that police was behind the killing of the youth. “It was police which created law and order problem in Jammu while removing the poster of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale which has hurt the sentiments of Sikhs in the region and they came on roads”.