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Curfew lifted from Ramban, NH open
Protests in Ramban, Bandh in Rajouri
Khwaja Sharjeel
BANIHAL, Jul 20: The curfew was fully lifted from Ramban district today even as fresh protests rocked Banihal with protesters blocking the Jammu-Srinagar Highway near Markazi Jamia Masjid Banihal despite heavy rains that lashed almost entire Jammu region.

However the traffic at the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was reopened this afternoon after two-day closure in the wake of prevailing tension in Ramban district after Gool firing incident on Thursday.

The stranded vehicles from both the sides were allowed to run on National Highway at around 3.30 PM after the protesters called off dharna there at 3 PM. All the stranded vehicles, carrying Amarnath pilgrims, on either side of Jawahar Tunnel also passed from Banihal.

The reports of protests also poured in from few other places of Jammu region including Rajouri district which observed complete Bandh

On the other hand, in an interesting turn of events, the wife of Abdul Latif, one of those killed in Gool firing on July 18, gave birth to his second daughter on Friday evening.

On the whole, the situation throughout Jammu region remained peaceful today with no report of any untoward incident or violent protest from any part of the province.

According to an official spokesman, Amarnath yatra would resume tomorrow. “The movement of yatris from Jammu has already started. Tomorrow the restrictions shall continue only in the vulnerable and sensitive areas of the valley,” the spokesman stated.

Given the restiveness among stranded Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu, the state government late Saturday evening dispatched fresh batch of 1800 pilgrims in 54 vehicles from Yatri base camp in tight security arrangements. The decision was taken by the government after receiving go ahead from the National Highway authorities.


At Banihal, the protesters facing heavy rains burnt tyres on NH1A at main market. The protesters were raising anti-India slogans. Later, Banihal Committee decided to call off dharna on National Highway at 3 PM.

Speaking on the occasion, Imam stated that the strike would be called off from July 21 and all shops would remain opened. The government offices would also function from tomorrow.

The Srinagar-Jammu Highway was also reopened for traffic after two-day closure.

“The highway has been reopened to vehicular traffic at 3:30 PM. All stranded vehicles from both side of National Highway were allowed to run after the people called off dharna at National Highway at 3 PM. All the vehicles, carrying Amarnath pilgrims, stranded on either side of Jawahar Tunnel, also passed from Banihal,” told B K Ganju Deputy SP Traffic Banihal.

On the other hand at Gool, within 24 hours after Abdul Latif was killed in firing by the security personnel, his second daughter was born. His wife gave birth to a daughter at 4 PM on Friday, within five hours after the people returned home from the graveyard after laying him to rest. Latif was married since 2002. He already had two sons and a daughter.

According to a police handout, the situation was peaceful through Jammu region on Saturday. The shops remained open and traffic plied normally in Kishtwar, Doda, Udhampur, Poonch, Kathua, Samba and Jammu districts.

“However, in district Rajouri, the shops of Muslim community remained closed yet the traffic plied normally. In Banihal, Dharam and Gool of district Ramban, the shops remained closed. In Mahore of district Reasi, the shops remained partially closed. In Poonch, the shops remained open and the traffic plied normally. In Kishtwar and Doda districts, there was no Bandh with all the shops opened and traffic plying normally. Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was also resumed this afternoon,” the police handout added.


Protest rallies were taken out at various tehsil headquarters in Rajouri. The protestors were raising slogans against the security personnel and also the state government for its failure to protect the human right. The protesters at Rajouri took out a peaceful rally which after passing through various bazars culminated at Gujjar Mandi Chowk. No major incident of violence was reported from anywhere.

In the morning, the shops of those belonging to Hindu community were opened but after some time they also downed their shutters. The public transport from bus stand was restricted but it continued uninterrupted at Jammu-Poonch highway. Some protesters blocked Rajouri-Kalakote road at Thudi, Nagrota and Chaprian in the vicinity of Jawahar Nagar. They also damaged the glasses of a Tempo Traveler bearing registration number JK02T-3862 which was on its way to Rajouri from Kalakote.

On Thursday, the district administration had held a meeting with the Moulvis and Muslim leaders who had promised the administration about the peaceful protest on Friday and peaceful bandh on Saturday. The protesters demanded FIR against the persons involved in the killing of 4 innocent civilians under section 302 RPC (murder).


In the meanwhile, the tense situation following Gool firing and three-day strike call in the Valley compounded the miseries of large number of Amarnath pilgrims stranded for the past three days.

The pilgrims in thousands were stranded at various locations/base camps in Jammu and Srinagar.

After the Gool firing incident in which four civilians were killed and 42 others were injured the yatra was halted and National Highway was closed by the state government as a precautionary measure. Since curfew was imposed across Kashmir on Friday the yatra was halted in Jammu.

According to official sources supervising yatra arrangements in Jammu base camp, the pilgrims were growing restive in the absence of clear cut schedule of next date of yatra from Jammu base camp. Meanwhile, the stranded pilgrims appealed to the state government to make alternate arrangements for their travel on the National Highway.

News Updated at : Sunday, July 21, 2013
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