10 policemen injured in clashes in Jammu

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Jammu, Jul 26 (UNI) At least 10 policemen were injured, one critically, in clashes with the agitating people at Muthi here, as the winter capital today witnessed massive protests at several places.

Police ''brutality'' against wailing relatives of Kuldeep Dogra -- the protester who killed himself in protest against government for revoking the order of diverting forest land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) on July 23 -- and ''disrespect'' to his body yesterday added fuel to the fire of agitation in Jammu.

Demanding strict action against alleged police officials involved in the brutality, people at several places in the city and its outskirts clashed with police.

Despite being subjected to teargas shells and heavy lathicharge, people were seen pelting stones and crude petrol bombs on police at several places.

''About 10 policemen were injured in clashes with protesters at Muthi, while over a dozen protesters were arrested elsewhere,'' a senior official told UNI.

Responding to the bandh call given by the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS), which is spearheading the ongoing agitation, all the public transport vehicles remained off the road.

Business establishments, school, colleges and university also remained closed.

Activists of saffron parties took out protest rallies at several places in the city, ensuring complete shut down.

Pilgrims and tourists were facing hardships due to lack of transport in the city. Many passengers had to spend the night at railway station and bus stand.

Reports said shut down was also being observed in several tehsil and district towns of the region.

Situation in Bishnah area, the native place of deceased protester Kuldeep Dogra, remained tense with police-public clashes.

People alleged that police had attempted to cremate the body of Dogra in the night by pouring kerosene and liquor.

The SAYSS is demanding the allocation of about 40 hectares forest land to the SASB.

The land was first diverted to the SASB on May 26 for setting-up temporary prefabricated structures for pilgrims to the cave shrine in south Kashmir but after it was made an issue that triggered massive protests in the valley, the government revoked the previous order on July 1.

While revoking the order helped in pacifying people in Kashmir -- the Muslim majority region of state -- it stirred up massive protests in the Jammu region.

Various political and non-political parties in Jammu joined under the banner of the SAYSS to continue with the protest for allotment of forest land to the SASB.

UNI VJ LPB VC1619

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