The state government imposed curfew in communally sensitive Kishtwar town following the arrest of three persons —two of them under the Public Safety Act — in the wee hours today for their alleged involvement in anti-national and criminal activities.
The accused were wanted by the police on charges of sedition for the past few weeks.
According to reports, the police raided the houses of Abdul Qayoom Mattoo, a local Hurriyat leader and ‘imam’ of a mosque in Omar Mohalla of the town, Saifuddin Bhagwan, local Hurriyat leader, and Firdous Bhagwan around 1:30 am today and arrested all three of them.
As the news about their arrest spread, people came out of their homes to protest.
Protesting locals threw stones on the police party. They also made announcements from mosque loudspeakers that resulted in alleged pro-freedom protests in the town, forcing the police to use mild lathi-charge to disperse the protesters.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Kishtwar, Sandeep Gupta said: “Curfew has been imposed in the town as people were trying to create problem following the arrest of some persons. As a precautionary measure, the administration imposed curfew in the town from 4 am.” He said the situation was normal.
“Abdul Qayoom Mattoo and Saifuddin Bhagwan have been detained under the Public Safety Act. A number of cases were registered against them for creating trouble in Kishtwar. We have sent both of them to Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu, however, Firdous Bhagwan is in our custody,” the SSP added.
The police had filed charges against 18 persons who were wanted in cases of sedition and were found involved in anti-national activities. According to reports, more arrests are likely.
There was a huge deployment of police and paramilitary forces in the town today. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the district till the filing of this report.
Meanwhile, a peaceful shutdown has been called by religious leaders in Doda town tomorrow against the tension in Kishtwar.