Even as Minister of State for Home Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo resigned on Monday and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah ordered a judicial probe into the Kishtwar violence, fresh clashes broke out between a group of protesters and the police in Hidyal village. About a dozen persons, including an additional superintendent of police, were injured.
Denying any role in the communal violence, Kitchloo accused his political opponents of maligning him. He also attacked the BJP and PDP for demanding his resignation. “Did (Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra) Modi resign after the Godhra riots? What happened to Amit Shah who is now the BJP’s star campaigner in Uttar Pradesh?” said Kitchloo, adding that “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
A government spokesperson said Kitchloo’s resignation has been accepted by Governor N N Vohra.
Meanwhile, fresh violence broke out in Kishtwar after a youth, Sajjan Kumar, from Hidyal village was detained for his alleged involvement in Friday’s violence. Defying prohibitory orders, people from Hidyal village took out a procession today to demand Sajjan Kumar’s release.
Police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the protesters. But when the crowd regrouped and started throwing stones, the police lobbed teargas shells. The Army personnel then intervened and fired warning shots in the air. Sources said nearly a dozen people from both communities, including local Hurriyat leader Maulana Abdul Qayoom Mattoo, have been detained.
Barring stray incidents of violence in Jammu, no other clashes were reported from elsewhere in the region. While curfew was enforced in Kishtwar for the fourth day today, it was relaxed for a few hours in some parts of Kathua district and Udhampur.
At a high-level meeting chaired by the CM, the government decided to sanction immediate relief of Rs 2 lakh each to those whose houses were razed or shops looted. Chairing an all-party meeting later in the day, Omar said his government would take all measures to restore calm in the violence-hit areas. He stressed the need for political parties and civil society to work together to restore peace. The meeting was attended by leaders of the BJP, NC, PDP, CPI(M), NCP, SP and BSP.