‘Cow vigilante’ murder turmoil in Jammu
Alleged cow vigilantes shot a man dead in Jammu’s Bhaderwah valley on Wednesday night, triggering clashes between protesters and security forces and prompting the authorities to clamp a curfew and call in the army to contain communal tensions.
Bhaderwah additional superintendent of police Raj Singh Gouria told The Telegraph the force was investigating whether the attackers were cow vigilantes.
Local people said the attackers had fired at a group of three men near Nalthi village, killing Bhaderwah town resident Nayeem Ahmad Shah, 50, and injuring another.
Pictures have surfaced showing Shah lying blood-splattered with injuries to his face. Police said a post-mortem was under way, after which the body would be handed over to the family.
Shah and the two others were said to have been travelling to their homes in the Qilla locality of Bhaderwah town, accompanied by cattle, when they were shot at around 2am.
“We have arrested all the accused. The situation is now under control,” Gouria said.
Clashes broke out on Bhaderwah’s streets and the tension spread to many other areas in the rest of Jammu’s Chenab Valley.
A video has surfaced showing a group of young men throwing stones at the homes of people of a particular community. The police used tear gas to break up the mob.
An official said the mob had attacked a police station and damaged several vehicles on Thursday morning, prompting the administration to seek the army’s help. Internet services have been suspended in the area.
Bhaderwah is a communally sensitive town where Muslims have a slender majority.
Parvez Ahmad Sheikh, head of the religious body Anjuman-i-Islam Bhaderwah, blamed Sangh parivar outfits for Shah’s death and called for a shutdown on Friday.
Bhaderwah resident and National Conference leader Mehboob Iqbal said the town had been under curfew since morning. “Nobody is being allowed to venture out. People are angry and say he (Shah) was killed by cow vigilantes,” he said.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who hails from Bhaderwah and has represented the constituency in the past, called for a magisterial inquiry into the killing and appealed for calm.
“Some miscreants will always try to spoil the peaceful atmosphere….It is the responsibility of each of us to ensure peace and communal harmony,” he said.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted a BBC report on how Muslims were living in fear under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s watch.
“This on a day alleged cow vigilantes have killed a man in Badarwah (sic) area of Jammu – India’s Muslims fear for their future under Narendra Modi,” he said.
Shah’s murder comes more than a month after militants killed RSS leader Chanderkant Sharma and his personal security officer in adjoining Kishtwar district, also a part of the Chenab Valley.