Zanskar tense, curfew imposed

ASEM MOHIUDDIN. Dated: 10/25/2012 12:19:30 AM

SRINAGAR, Oct 24: The authorities in Zanskar township of Kargil district imposed the strict curfew over the issue of embracing of Islam by some twenty five people few weeks back.
The trouble erupted on Tuesday evening after two opposite communities clashed in Padum Chowk at around 4:30 pm.
“In the evening, some people from majority reached the Padam Chowk and resorted to stone pelting and shouted slogans against minority community. The situation took an ugly turn when the minority community retaliated. All of a sudden the whole area was gripped by panic with large number of people resorting to stone pelting,” senior police official told Kashmir Times.
The official said that as the police and civil administration reached the spot to pacify the people, the angry protesters threw bricks and stones towards them injuring executive magistrate and two others.
Sensing that situation would turn out of control, the authorities immediately declared indefinite curfew in the entire township.
“The police baton charged the people involved in clashes and chased them away to their homes. The loud speakers were used to announce curfew and ensure people would remain indoors,” said another civil official from the area.
They also rushed further enforcement to the area to contain the situation.
However, the police spokesman here, while terming the situation under control, said that the injured including Tehsildar have been shifted to Srinagar hospital for specialised treatment.
“Police has taken cognizance of clashes between two communities. Three persons including the Tehsildar of Zanskar were injured in the clashes and they were later shifted to Srinagar,” the spokesman said.
“Curfew has been imposed in the town. The situation is under control and is being constantly monitored by civil and police administration who are camping in the town,” spokesman added.
Few weeks back five to six Buddhist families comprising some 26 members embraced Islam in township. The conversion of these families evoked severe criticism by the Buddhist majority population. The Zanskar Buddhists Association (ZDA), following the conversion, shot a letter to the Muslim community and asked them not to entertain them in their fold.
While the Muslim community rejected the letter of ZDA on grounds that in democracy any person has choice to follow the faith of his or her choice, the situation went ugly. The civil and police administration called many meetings of both the factions without any conclusion in the last few weeks despite the fact that converted people publicly said that they accepted Islam at their own will.



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