Wednesday, March 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bandh hits life in J&K
Our Correspondent

Jammu, March 25
Normal life was paralysed in Jammu and adjoining towns today following a call for a bandh by traders and transporters. The call for the bandh was given by the BJP, the Congress, the PDP, Jammu State Morcha and other organisations to protest against the massacre of 24 Pandits in a village in Pulwama district.

While most of the shops were closed, passenger transport services were off the roads affecting even inter-district routes. Groups of demonstrators, protesting against the carnage, smashed scores of three-wheelers and cars when they found the drivers ignoring the call for the bandh. In one incident, the vehicle in which the chief of the Panthers Party, Prof Bhim Singh, was travelling was also stoned.

Prof Bhim Singh has filed an FIR against the BJP chief, Dr Nirmal Singh, holding him responsible for engineering the attack on his vehicle.

In several parts of the city, the protesters burnt the effigies of the Pakistan military ruler, Gen Pervez Musharraf, and the Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Attendance in government offices and banks was thin as the employees could not make it to their offices in the absence of transport services. Streets wore a deserted look with shops shut and transport services off the roads.

According to a government press note, a bandh was observed at Ramban, Kathua, Udhampur and other towns. In these towns also, demonstrations were held where the protesters shouted anti-Pakistan slogans.

At a couple of places, protesters tried to block the traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar highway but timely intervention by the police restored the bus services. In Jammu some of the protesters were seen marching in procession wearing black badges.

Addressing groups of demonstrators, the BJP chief, Dr Nirmal Singh, accused the Chief Minister, Mufti Sayeed, of pursuing an agenda set by Pakistan and the All-Party Hurriyat Conference. The call for the bandh was given to protest against the state government’s policy of appeasement of the separatists.

Condemning the gruesome killing of 24 Kashmiri Pandits at Nadimarg in Pulwama district, the Jammu State Morcha (JSM) has demanded imposition of Central rule in Jammu and Kashmir.


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