Mobile internet services in Jammu were suspended after violence erupted in the region following the alleged desecration of the Aap Shambu temple in Janipura area. Police have arrested a youth who allegedly broke the protective glass in front of the idols and misbehaved with women performing aarti.
"Although we have arrested him, we are unable to carry out a probe into the matter as we are busy managing aggressive crowd. Many of them (protestors) were under influence of alcohol and even tried to gherao the police station," District Magistrate, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh told the media here.
"They intended to attack the police station, so we resorted to mild lathicharge and tear gas to disperse them," he added. He further said Section 144 is not needed in the area, as the situation is under control.
The protesters were demanding immediate arrest of the accused and suspension of two police officers who allegedly backed the accused and abused the complainants. Reinforcements were rushed to Janipura to prevent protesters from heading towards the old city. Senior civil and police officers were camping at the police control room to monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, the CCTV footage of the desecration went viral on the social media, adding fuel to the fire.
BJP members created a ruckus in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly over the violence in Jammu city. As soon as the House assembled, the BJP members took to their feet and demanded a statement from the government on the issue.
"It is matter of serious concern...Some anti-social elements have carried out an anti-social act. Situation in Jammu bad. The government should make a statement," BJP MLA Ravinder Raina said.
National Conference's Altaf Ahmad Kaloo and Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rasheed also joined in, demanding the government ensure safety of Kashmiris in Jammu region.
"Four boys from Pahalgam area have been arrested in Jammu. What is their fault?" Kaloo asked. The BJP MLAs took offence to intervention from Rasheed and Kaloo and exchanged heated words.
CPI(M) MLA M Y Tarigami later intervened, saying the entire House should condemn the incident and appeal for maintaining calm and brotherhood. "Let us not divide this state along communal lines," he said.
Leader of Opposition Omar Abdullah supported Tarigami, saying, "It would have been better if the suggestion had come from the Treasury Benches."
"Usually, the Chief Minister comes here (assembly) and intervenes but today neither she nor the Deputy Chief Minister is here when the situation in Jammu is on the brink," he said.
Omar said that instead of fighting over the issue, the legislators "should set an example for the people to follow on ground. What we do here will be cue for the people in Jammu".
Earlier, Law Minister Abdul Haq Khan made a statement on the issue.
"As per information received by Roopnagar police station, one mentally disturbed person, identified as Yasir of Doda, tried damaging and defiling a temple in Janipur area. The accused was arrested by police but while he was being taken away, the temple priest and some local residents tried preventing police from discharging their duties," the minister said.
The minister also informed the House that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh were not present in the Assembly as they were in Jammu to personally monitor the situation. A few incidents of protests were reported in Jammu city.
"The situation right now is normal barring a few incidents of protests by local residents. We have deployed adequate number of police personnel," Jammu Deputy Commissioner Simrandeep Singh said.
While appealing for calm, the DC said nobody would be allowed to take the law into their hands.
A huge posse of police personnel, geared with anti-riots equipment, were deployed in the area after protesters had last night set three vehicles on fire and resorted to stone pelting on police after the news of the desecration of the temple spread in the city.