Massive demonstrations were held all across Jammu shortly after Friday prayers in protest against the dumping of flood hit religious books.
The protesters demanded thorough investigations into the whole episode and registration of criminal cases against the arrested persons.
Eyewitnesses said that people in large numbers took to streets in different parts of Jammu division including Rajendra Bazar, Bari Brahmana, Residency Road, Gujjar Nagar, Bhatandi, Malik Market, Kathi Talab and Kalu Chak.
Large contingent of police and Para-military troopers had been deployed to maintain law and order. The protest marches in these areas were peaceful and police did not do anything to disperse them, eyewitnesses said.
Lauding the role of police in wasting no time to nab the culprits, Auqaf Islamia Jammu president Wasim Raja said that they buried 70 tons of flood hit religious material in two grave yards of Beirpora and Suhara localities. “We demand that stringent punishment should be awarded to the scrap dealers involved in the act,” he said.
According to PTI reports, four persons, including two scrap dealers from Kashmir, have been arrested for allegedly dumping religious books of a particular community at their go-downs for using them later as raw material for packaging boxes.
“Three scrap dealers, including two from Kashmir Valley, and an accountant working with a Jammu-based scrap dealer were arrested in connection with this. Besides, three godowns have also been sealed,” Additional SP (Samba) Faisal Qureshi said.
“A Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested scrap dealer Sanjay Gupta of Paloura, Jammu. During questioning, Gupta disclosed that he had purchased such books from some scrap dealers in Srinagar,” he said.
Accordingly, the team was sent to Srinagar and two other scrap dealers — Bilal Ahmed and Amir Ahmed — were arrested.
“A godown, belonging to scrap dealer Rakesh Kumar was sealed where these religious books were found dumped,” Qureshi said, adding that Kumar’s accountant Kuldeep Singh was arrested from the spot.
Following the arrest, members of the community lodged their protest against the use of religious books as packaging material at a meeting of all scrap dealers of Samba.
Prominent and religious leaders of the community were among those who attended the meeting.
During the meeting, it was decided that two police teams will be constituted to survey scrap dealers’ godowns to check on such use of religious books.
“Till evening, searches were carried out by these teams in 30 godowns. Out of these, three godowns have been sealed by police on the orders of SDM Bari-Brahmna from where such religious material found”, he said.
Scrap dealers, supported by some BJP leaders, alleged that police was harassing them instead of arresting those who sold the religious books.CNS/PTI