Wednesday, March 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Protest against killings: 15 hurt in police
lathi charge
Our Correspondent

Jammu, March 25
At least 15 Kashmiri Pandits were injured today when the police lathicharged demonstrators protesting against the massacre of 24 persons in a village in Pulwama district. They were marching to Rajinder Park to attend a condolence meeting.

As teh processionists were coming out of the Muthi Camp, where several hundred families have been staying since 1990, the police set up barrier near Palora bridge. The demonstrators tried to break the barrier and they were lathicharged in which 15 protesters were injured.

It was after a long time leaders of different Pandit organisations, including the Panun Kashmir, the All-State Kashmiri Pandit Conference, the Panun Kashmir Movement, had organised joint condolence meeting in Rajinder Park. After the meeting the protesters planned to march to the civil secretariat but were not allowed to do so by the police. The demonstrators jostled with the lathi-wielding cops and marched to the Muthi Camp to express sympathy and solidarity with their community people injured in lathi charge.

Leaders of Pandit organisations including Dr Ajay Chrungoo, Mr Hira Lal Chatha, Mr Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, Mr Kuldeep Raina demanded dismissal of the Mufti-led Government as PDP-Congress coalition Government had failed to protect the lives of Pandits in the Kashmir valley.

A resolution adopted at the meeting called for the imposition of the Governor’s rule. They also demanded the Hindus, in valley, be brought to Jammu under security cover as “we are not prepared to see the minorities used as fodder for the guns of militants”.

Panun Kashmir leaders said they had warned the Chief Minister against ill-conceived plan of rehabilitating the displaced families in some clusters in Kashmir. The Pandit leaders said the plan of the Mufti-led Government to rehabilitate Pandits in Khirbhawani and at Mattan was enough provocation to the Pakistan-trained militants to carry out the carnage for ensuring total “ethnic cleasnising in Kashmir”.

The agitated Pandits shouted anti-Pakistan and anti-Mufti slogans giving vent to “bruised feelings”.


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