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Curfew continues in Kishtwar

Jammu, Aug 18 : Curfew continued for the 10th day Sunday in Kishtwar town of Jammu and Kashmir although it was relaxed for a short duration Saturday. An indefinite curfew was imposed Aug 9 following communal clashes in the town.


Curfew was Saturday relaxed in a phased manner in Kishtwar -- in one half from 1 p.m. to 2.30 p.m., and in the other half from 3.30 p.m. to 5 p.m..

Kishtwar District Magistrate Basheer Ahmad Khan said no untoward incident occurred anywhere during the relaxation period and the situation has remained peaceful in the town for the last two days.

Meanwhile, a ministerial team headed by Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand reached Kishtwar town late Saturday to hold talks with representatives of the two communities to defuse tensions between them.

The other members of the team include Rural Development Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Minister Chowdhary Muhammad Ramzan and Irrigation and Flood Control Minister Sham Lal Sharma.

The team held a meeting with representatives of the minority community late Saturday, during which the minority community put forward their demands.

The demands included hiked compensation in favour of those whose properties were destroyed during the riots, increase in ex gratia relief to the next of kin of the slain member of the community and transfer of the deputy inspector general (DIG) and a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) who were charged of partisan role during the riots.

The minority community representatives also demanded that the name of the former junior minister for home, Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo, should be included in the police complaint lodged against rioters in the town.

The minority representatives had earlier refused to meet the ministerial team in presence of the local civil and police administration.

The team agreed to the demand and met the representatives without including any one from the district administration in the meeting.

The representatives included religious, political and social activists from Kishtwar.

They also strongly opposed the separatists' demand of disbanding the village defence committees (VDCs) in the area.

The ministerial team was told any action against the VDCs would go in favour of the militants against whom the committees were set up.

Separatist leaders have accused the VDCs of using weapons during the communal riots.

The team will Sunday meet representatives of the majority community in Kishtwar.

Three people were killed and private and public property worth millions were set ablaze in Kishtwar Aug 9 during communal clashes following which an indefinite curfew was imposed in the town with the army's assistance.

--IANS (Posted on 18-08-2013)

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