Tension mounted in Jammu's Bhaderwah and some areas of Kishtwar prompting authorities to impose a curfew while parts of Kashmir observed a shutdown over the controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad by two now-suspended BJP leaders, officials said on Friday.
Internet services were snapped in the Bhaderwah and Kishtwar towns and Srinagar city of Kashmir as a precautionary measure. Mobile Internet was also suspended in parts of Kashmir, they said.
Sporadic incidents of stone-pelting were reported in Bhaderwah town. Some people, violating restrictions, came on streets and threw stones at security forces amid sloganeering.
There was a minor incident of stone-pelting in Bhaderwah town but it has been brought under control. No one was injured, a senior officer said.
The protest started in Baderwah town of Doda on Thursday when hundreds of people staged a sit-in protesting against the remarks made by suspended BJP leaders Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal against Prophet Mohammad.
After intense negotiations, the protestors agreed to clear the road and entered the neighbouring Jama Masjid. Purported video clips of the inflammatory speeches went viral on social media. The police have registered a case and warned people against taking the law into their own hands.
However, tension increased around midnight when two women, who came out of the mosque, claimed that they were roughed up by the security forces who were implementing curfew in the town.
Stones were pelted at the security forces who had to later lob tear gas shells and resort to lathi charge. Tension eased after senior officials, including the additional deputy commissioner, assured the protestors that an enquiry would be held to probe into the allegations levelled by the two women.
Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Singh visited the Baderwah town with the officials and took stock of the situation there.
Later, he told reporters that preventive measures have been taken to ease the situation and requested the media not to visit areas where stone-pelting had taken place as it could flare up the situation.
He said action would be soon taken against the culprits.
In Kashmir, security forces have been deployed in strength at sensitive places of Srinagar and elsewhere in the Valley for maintaining law and order.
The old city -- popularly known as Downtown Srinagar -- witnessed a complete shutdown with public transport off the roads. However, traffic was plying in Lal Chowk, Batamaloo and adjoining areas with offices and schools remaining open.
Authorities have shut down the Internet on mobile devices in some areas as a precautionary measure to stop rumour-mongers, officials said, adding there were no reports of any untoward incident in the Valley so far.
Union minister and Udhampur MP Jitendra Singh appealed for peace and harmony.
"Curfew has been imposed in both Doda and Kishtwar districts as a precautionary measure," Divisional Commissioner, Jammu region, Ramesh Kumar said.
"Security forces have been deployed in large numbers in Bhaderwah town. The situation is under control. Anyone who toes to vitiate the atmosphere will face stringent action," he said.
Registering FIRs, the police have warned that anyone found violating law and order will not be spared.
"Action has been taken (over inflammatory speeches). A case has been registered under IPC sections 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) at Bhaderwah police station," a police official said.
"Anyone who takes the law into his own hands will not be spared," he said.
Cleric Adil Ganai, who has been booked for making inflammatory and hate speeches in Bhaderwah on Thursday, tendered a apology for hurting sentiments of a particular community.
"It was not against a community but a particular individual. Despite that, I hurt the feelings of a community, I apologise", he told reporter. Ganai said it was the result of an emotional. "I apologize for that."
Taking to Twitter, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said, "I hope cooler heads prevail. Jammu and Kashmir has enough problems without adding to them with communal tension spreading in and around Bhadarwah. I appeal to everyone to maintain calm and ask my party colleagues to help normalise the situation at the earliest."
(With PTI inputs)