Wednesday, February 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Cremation of youth passes off peacefully
2 cops suspended, curfew relaxed
Tribune News Service and Agencies

JAMMU, Feb 6 — Mr Mohinder Singh, who was killed in violent clashes between the Sikhs and security forces yesterday, was cremated today.

The sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) and a sub-inspector of the Narwal police station have been suspended pending further inquiry for use of excess force to disperse the mob.

A large number of people took part in the cremation. Several police and civil officers were present.

The body of Mohinder Singh was kept at the local gurdwara till cremation at 1500 hours today. The government has already ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

Defying curfew restrictions, thousands of Sikhs poured into the streets yesterday to protest against the killing of six members of their community in Srinagar on Saturday.

In the ensuing clash, Mohinder Singh was killed and several injured, three of them seriously. At least 30 policemen sustained injuries.

The mob also ransacked shops and set ablaze vehicles and government buildings.

Except for three police stations of Maisuma, Shagarhi and Saddar in Srinagar city, curfew restrictions were lifted in all other areas of the city today after two days.

The restrictions were imposed following the killing of six Sikhs at Mahjoor Nagar here on Saturday which sparked off violent incidents in several parts of the city. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the valley today.

There was no relaxation in the curfew in Jammu and Udhampur where one person was killed and over 36 injured when the police fired at an agitated mob protesting against the killings in Narwal area of Jammu yesterday.

Jammu city, including its adjacent areas of Bari Brahamna, were brought under curfew restrictions. The highway town of Udhampur, 66 km from Jammu on the Srinagar road, also reeled under curfew restrictions.

Traffic on the Pathankot-Jammu-Srinagar national highway was stopped during the past two days. These measures were taken in order to avoid trouble on the highway. While traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway has remained suspended since Sunday, that on the Jammu-Pathankot has been off for the past two days.

This has led to scarcity of essential commodities in the valley.

A large number of Sikhs from different parts of the valley continued to pour into Mahjoor Nagar to mourn the death of the slain Sikhs at the hands of unidentified gunmen on Saturday evening. The agitated Sikhs have been demanding migration from the valley and urged the government to open a migration counter at Jammu.

Dr Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister, and a five-member team deputed by the Prime Minister have advised the Sikhs not to migrate. The team led by Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and comprising Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, BJP MPs Vijay Kumar Malhotra and S.S. Ahluwalia and Mr Tarlochan Singh, member of the National Minorities Commission, met Sikh leaders and residents here yesterday. The team also held a meeting with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Governor Girish Chander Saxena and senior government functionaries.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann), Kashmir unit, has urged the people from all sections to maintain peace and communal harmony. According to a statement of the party, a meeting of the party unit was held here yesterday which discussed the situation arising out of the killings.

The SAD demanded ex gratia for the next of kin of those killed. It also demanded relief to those injured.

The Kashmir unit of the All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) has called for a joint probe by Muslims and Sikhs in Kashmir into the killings to “expose those agencies that are behind the killings”. Back



Give security to Sikhs: Talwandi
Attacks aimed at migration: Advani
Tribune News Service

Home Minister L.K. Advani meets a Sikh delegation led by SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi (centre) at his office in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Home Minister L.K. Advani meets a Sikh delegation led by SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi (centre) at his office in New Delhi on Tuesday. 
— PTI photo

NEW DELHI, Feb 6 —The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, called on the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, here tonight and impressed on him the need to provide security to the Sikh community in Jammu and Kashmir.

The attacks on the Sikh community in Srinagar and Jammu had compelled them to actively consider migrating out of the sensitive border state as the state government was not doing anything to protect their interests. 

This had arisen because the Abdullah government had failed to provide security despite gory incidents like the one in Chittisingpura in March last year.

Considering the seriousness of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Talwandi was rushing to Jammu at the behest of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, as the scattered Sikh community in the sensitive border state was feeling increasingly alienated.

During his 15-minute meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Talwandi also impressed on him the need for sending kar sevaks for the restoration of gurdwaras in Pakistan besides allowing of official jathas there.

He was accompanied by the Union Minister for Fertilisers and Chemicals, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, and the Member of the Minorities Commission, Mr Tirlochan Singh.

Talking to newspersons after his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Talwandi said besides the killings of Sikhs in Srinagar and the issue of sending official jathas to Pakistan he also asked Mr Vajpayee to fulfil the long-pending demands of Punjab like hike in the minimum support price of wheat and linking of the Agricultural Price Index with the National Price Index.

“We are sure that he (Mr Vajpayee) will definitely fulfil the long-pending demands of Punjab,” he said.

Mr Talwandi said the Prime Minister gave them a patient hearing and assured them he would try his level best to fulfil long-pending demands of Punjab.

The SGPC chief had called on the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, earlier in the day to focus on the plight of the Sikh community in Jammu and Kashmir and the specific issue of sending official jathas to gurdwaras in Pakistan.

Sources said after giving a patient hearing to Mr Talwandi, Mr Advani gave directions for ensuring the security of the Sikh community. Mr Talwandi stressed that the security arrangements for the 50,000-odd members of the Sikh community scattered all over the state should be to their satisfaction. Mr Advani said the Jammu and Kashmir Government had been asked to give a report on the police firing.

Expressing grave concern over the killings of Sikhs in the valley, Mr Advani said the recent attacks were aimed at precipitating the second phase of migration from the valley. First, it was the Kashmiri Pandits and now it was members of another minority community, he said.

Mr Talwandi submitted that the Sikh community in Jammu and Kashmir was facing immense problems of employment, education and feeling increasingly alienated in the prevailing atmosphere of violence and bloodshed. 

Mr Talwandi stressed that to prevent the Sikh youths from taking to militancy the government should consider recruiting unemployed Sikh youths in the Jammu and Kashmir police like in other states.

After the ghastly killing of six Sikhs in Srinagar yesterday, at least one person suffered a similar fate in Jammu yesterday. The security forces opened fire on a violent mob in the Narwal area of Jammu during the bandh called in protest against the brutal killings in Srinagar. On the protection and restoration of gurdwaras in Pakistan and sending of official jathas there, Mr Jaswant Singh assured he would take up the issue with his counterpart in the neighbouring country, Mr Talwandi said.

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