No question of 'selective targeting' in J and K: Ghulam Nabi Azad

New Delhi, Aug. 12 (ANI): Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said the situation in Kishtwar and other violence-torn districts of Jammu and Kashmir were presently under control, and that there was no question of selectively targetting one particular community.

"Right now, there is peace in Kishtwar. I think the whole state is under control and maintaining peace. It is unfortunate that this incident happened, which was similar to the violence of 2008 when three people were killed. In this incident, too, three people have been killed and several others were injured. But after that, the situation has been under control. I have full faith that the entire state will now be under control," Azad said.

Rubbishing the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) claim that people of one community were "selectively targeted", Azad said that there was no question about it because the District is equally populated with Hindus and Muslims.

"The area has a 50-50 population of Hindus and Muslims. They (BJP) probably don't know that. There is neither a majority in the area, nor a minority. Therefore, there is no point in making a statement on the basis of majority or minority in the District. Secondly, people from both communities have been targeted and killed. Thus, there is no question of a particular target. When the enquiry is carried out, the BJP will feel sorry that what they thought was not true," Azad added.

Leader of Opposition (Rajya Sabha) Arun Jaitley accused the Jammu and Kashmir state government of imposing censorship in the affected areas saying, "The issue relates to India's sovereignty and integrity. This country is still struggling to see how people of one section are selectively targeted."

Jaitley, who was detained at the Jammu airport for several hours yesterday because of the curfew, attacked the Jammu and Kashmir State Government and called for a comprehensive enquiry into the clashes and questioned why no arrests have been made so far.

"The whole incident requires to be investigated. This is not an inter-community disturbance. It is not a law and order situation. It is a matter of India's sovereignty. Those affected must be compensated and the guilty brought to book," Jaitley said.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram defended Omar Abdullah's government's decision to impose curfew in the violence-torn area saying, "Tension in Kishtwar is not related to terrorism; scuffles during procession led to violence. ... In view of the situation, curfew was clamped by state government in eight districts of Jammu and Kashmir."

Additionally, Chidambaram also responded to Jaitley's jibe at him on how Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code should actually and correctly be applied.

"Section 144 is status neutral, gender and caste neutral; the decision lies with the district administration. The state government has made arrests and the arrests will continue," Chidambaram said.

Curfew continued to be in force in Kishtwar town on Monday due to prevailing tension in the wake of last week's communal clashes.

Educational institutions have been shut across the state and mobile internet services blocked after clashes took a turn for the worse on Sunday.

Apart from Kishtwar, seven other districts are under curfew, including Jammu and Rajouri, following acts of arson and violence.

Army personnel continue to patrol key areas to maintain law and order.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has ordered a judicial probe into the clashes, which has claimed the lives of three persons so far. (ANI)


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