Protests continue, curfew relaxed in Jammu

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Jammu, Aug 13 (UNI) Protests and demonstrations continued today as day-long relaxation in curfew passed off peacefully here, official sources said.

''Peaceful massive protest rallies were taken out amid chants of 'bam bam bhole' in various localities of the temple city as eight-hour long curfew relaxation was later extended for the whole day,'' official sources told UNI.

The city observed complete shut down on the 21st consecutive day today as life came to standstill.

''Government offices and educational institutions witnessed thin attendance due to Jammu bandh while commuters were seen waiting in long queues at some of the functional ATM points,'' sources said.

Besides, vegetable and fruit vendors remained surrounded by the customers while no commercial vehicles were seen plying on the busiest roads of the Winter Capital.

''Curfew was completely lifted from the Kathua district and no fresh incidents of violence were reported from any area,'' official sources said adding, ''some of the branches of various banks were also operational and shutters were up in mini markets.'' Simultaneously, curfew was also relaxed in Samba, Rajouri, Reasi, Udhampur and Doda districts as protestors took out peaceful rallies demanding restoration of land back to the Shrine Board.

However, there was no respite from curfew in Kishtwar district after communal tension gripped the area yesterday in which two people were killed, several injured and many shops, houses and vehicles were set ablaze.

''The situation is tense but under control in Kishtwar as Army and para-military forces including companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed in different areas of the district,'' a senior police officer maintained.

Eight people have lost their lives earlier in the ongoing agitation in Jammu, with maximum four in alleged police firing at Samba.

The Sangharsh Samiti, a conglomerate of 35 political, religious and social organisations, has extended the Jammu bandh till August 20. The Samiti, is demanding restoration of forest land to the SASB at Baltal and removal of newly-appointed Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra.

UNI VBH SP BST2102

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