Representational use only.
Srinagar: Widespread protests have been reported across Jammu, especially in the Pir Panjal area of Rajouri, after six civilians, including two minors, were killed in two attacks in Dangri village last night.
A minor boy was killed, and seven others were injured in an explosion near one of the three houses where armed assailants targeted the locals, killing at least four people, including a father and son. Another minor girl, who was critically injured in the blast, succumbed to her injuries, taking the toll to six and leaving 11 injured.
According to Mukesh Singh, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Jammu Zone, some of the injured are being treated in Rajouri hospital, and some have been shifted to Jammu hospital.
“It appears that the IED was kept under a gunny bag which exploded today. The area has been cordoned off, and a search operation is underway. There is information about the presence of two terrorists,” Singh told reporters.
The attack in Rajouri was widely condemned by social and political organisations, which led to protests across the Jammu division. The protests were led by several organisations, including Rashtriya Bajrang Dal, Dogra Manch and Bharatiya Janata Party, who termed the attack against the Hindu minority as “dastardly”. According to eye-witnesses, the demonstrations were reported in Pir Panjal areas of Rajouri and Poonch and Jammu areas of Rani Park, Bahu Moad, Trikuta Nagar and Chowki Choura. Many protests raised slogans against the police and administration accusing them of “failure” to protect the civilians.
Condemning the attack, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha, visited the region and announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh and a government job to the victim’s next of kin.
“An ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh and a government job would be given to the next of kin of each of those civilians martyred in the dastardly attack. Seriously injured would be given Rs 1 lakh. Officials have been directed to ensure the best treatment to injured,” the Office of the LG announced on Twitter.
There has been an uptick in violence in the Jammu area, including in Poonch and Rajouri, since last year after years of a relative lull, which many security officials had already indicated. The fresh attack in the region was widely condemned by political parties, many of whom questioned the J&K administration and BJP for misrepresenting the situation in the Union territory.
“It is unfortunate that there is still terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. It has spread similarly to how hatred is spreading across the country; it is also an outcome of that. Hindus and Muslims are being divided… Look at what is happening in Nainital,” National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah told the media.
“Condemn this cowardly act and offer condolences to their families. Despite being under BJP rule and its bogus claims of ending militancy, violence continues unabated. Had J&K had its own elected government, the same media would have hauled them over the coals,” People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.
The attack was also condemned by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) led by incarcerated Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
“Hurriyat Conference strongly condemns the innocent killings of unarmed civilians in Rajouri. We express our condolences to the deceased and their families,” APHC said in a statement.
NC’s Omar Abdullah also tweeted against the attack whilst also questioning the role of security forces in handling the aftermath.
“This apparent carelessness on the part of the security forces needs to be probed and accountability fixed. Costly lessons learnt in the past taught us not to hand over the sites of encounters/attacks without thoroughly sanitising them. Why wasn’t this SOP followed in Rajouri?” he tweeted.
Congress leader Vikar Rasool and Communist Party of India (M) leader MY Tarigami also lashed out at the government for the security lapse.
“The incident is at odds with the government’s normalcy narrative. Unfortunately, the government has failed to contain violence despite making lofty claims about the improved security situation,” Tarigami said in a statement.