Fifth day of bandh in Jammu over AIIMS issue

  • City shuts down, though ‘peaceful’; 50 protesters detained, 30 bailed so far, says police
  • Agitators warn of intensified stir if AIIMS not given to Jammu


JAMMU: Jammu witnessed a bandh for the fifth consecutive day on Tuesday, coordinated by the AIIMS Coordination Committee (ACC) over the demand for an All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the city. However, no clashes or incidents of stone pelting were reported even as protest demonstrations and rallies were held in different parts of Jammu city. The protests have been organised to pressurise the government to set up the proposed AIIMS in Jammu and not in Kashmir.
So, far, according to police sources, over 50 people have been arrested during the bandh period for defying restrictions and 30 of them have been bailed. Saying that the situation remained peaceful, the police said, “There were no reports of any violent incidents. Protests have been held at a few places. In some areas, shops have reopened.”
But normal life remained paralysed as no passenger vehicles plied on the roads and business establishments and markets generally remained closed. Protest demonstrations were held in different parts of Jammu city by Congress leaders at Shaheedi Chowk to show their resentment against the BJP government for not tackling the AIIMS issue amicably. People burnt tyres and effigies at several places, like in Janipur, Tawi Bridge, Gangyal, Jewel and Purani Mandi areas of the city.
Amid high security arrangements in Jammu city, the ACC, including the lawyer fraternity, today avoided taking out rallies keeping in view the imposition of Section 144 CrPc by the administration. ACC Chairman Abhinav Sharma visited various markets after receiving information about opening of some business establishments in Raghunath Bazar, Purani Mandi, Raj Tilak Road and other adjoining markets. Sharma appealed the shopkeepers to close their shops, but the intervention of the police prevented any forcible closure of the shops. Sharma was later asked to leave the market areas.
ACC Chairman and Jammu Bar Association (JBA) President, Abhinav Sharma charged the BJP with using force to derail the agitation. “In case, the government continues to use dilly-dallying tactics with the sentiments of the people and does not come out with a notification required as per AIIMS Act of 2012, and declares establishment of AIIMS for Jammu, the agitation instead of dying down will further escalate leading to unimaginable consequences for the BJP,” he said.
A protest demonstration was also held at RS Pura by Congress workers led by senior Congress leader Badri Nath Sharma against the central government and BJP leaders for ‘denial of AIIMS to Jammu’ and ‘betrayal of the people of Jammu region’. Badri Nath and another Congress leader Ashok Choudhary lashed out at the ‘backout’ by the BJP even after a ‘written commitment for a full-fledged AIIMS in Jammu’ given to the ACC.