The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have imposed a curfew in the Doda and Kishtwar districts and snapped Internet services in the Bhaderwah and Kishtwar towns on Friday to thwart attempts of creating communal tension in the area. Union minister and local MP Jitendra Singh appealed to the elders and heads of communities to come together to sort out the issue and maintain harmony.
According to officials, tension spread in the Bhaderwah area on Thursday evening after alleged inflammatory speeches were made during a protest against derogatory remarks made against Prophet Mohammad by now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. 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.
"Curfew has been imposed in both districts of Doda and Kishtwar as a precautionary measure," Divisional Commissioner, Jammu region, Ramesh Kumar told PTI. He said the situation was peaceful. Officials said Internet services have been snapped in Bhaderwah and Kishtwar towns because of rumor-mongering. Earlier, curfew was clamped in Bhaderwah town on Thursday night as a precautionary measure in view of communal tension, they said.
Hate speeches against now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma were allegedly delivered from a mosque. In another incident, someone uploaded an objectionable post on social media triggering further tension. Registering FIRs in both cases, 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... Anyone who takes the law into his own hands will not be spared," a police official said,
"I humbly appeal to the elders and the heads of the two communities to sit together to maintain the traditional harmony for which the beautiful town of Bhaderwah has always been known," Union minister Jitendra Singh spoke on the ongoing incident. "Meanwhile, I am in constant touch with DC Doda Vikas Sharma and Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sh Ramesh Kumar. DC Doda and SSP Doda are presently camping in Bhaderwah and personally monitoring the situation," he added.
Taking to Twitter, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said, "I hope cooler heads prevail. Jammu & 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 normalize the situation at the earliest."