Police arrests top saffron leaders in curfew-hit Jammu

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Jammu, Jul 27 (UNI) Top saffron leaders were taken into police custody today as the administration clamped down on the protesters in the winter capital agitating for revocation of government order cancelling the diversion of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) in South Kashmir.

State BJP president Ashok Khajuria, Jammu Municipal Corporation Mayor Kavinder Gupta, former MoS of Defence Chaman Lal Gupta and Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS) convener Lila Karan Sharma were among several protesters arrested by the police in the city, official sources said.

The SAYSS convener and five others were arrested while heading in large group to pay tributes to Kuldeep Dogra at Parade Ground here at around 1130 hrs, a UNI correspondent reported from the spot.

''A big contingent of police, CRPF and Rapid Action Force (RAF) resorted to heavy lathi-charge and fired rubber bullets to disperse the advancing protesters, including women and elderly people,'' the correspondent said.

Several protesters and police personnel were injured in clashes.

As notified to the civil administration by the SAYSS yesterday, a large group of people defied curfew restrictions in the city to reach the venue Parade Ground to pay tributes to Dogra who had died there on July 23.

Several groups of people approaching the Parade Ground from the city outskirts were stopped by police at different places, an official spokesman said.

The administration had reimposed curfew in the midnight to maintain law and order in the city in view of the SAYSS's programme to hold demonstration at Parade Ground, where Dogra had died.

Meanwhile, life remained paralysed in Jammu city on the consecutive fourth day today.

The SAYSS, which was observing chain hunger strike, had appealed for Jammu bandh after the death of Dogra on Amarnath land row.

Later, the limit of bandh was extended till tomorrow. ''Further extension to bandh will be decided on Monday,'' a Samiti spokesman said.

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