Jammu: Following reports of the ‘killing’ of three bovine animals in Chenani, and a ‘beef party’ held by an MLA in Srinagar, three Hindu-majority districts of the state, Udhampur, Reasi and Kathua, on Friday observed a bandh. Stray incidents of protests also reportedly occurred in Jammu city.
Meanwhile, various political, religious and social organisations have called for a Jammu bandh on Saturday as well.
According to reports, a complete bandh was observed in the three districts after a strike call was given by various Hindu organisations to protest against the ‘killing’ of three cows in Udhampur and the ‘beef party’ hosted by Engineer Rashid.
In Udhampur, people held protests and blocked the Jammu- Srinagar national highway and other link roads. “About 700-800 people gathered on the national highway and blocked vehicular traffic,” a police official said, adding that the civil administration and the police were closely monitoring the situation.
Protesters demanded ‘stern action’ against those responsible for ‘killing the cows’. “Our religious sentiments have been badly hurt and we demand strict action against the people responsible for killing cows. The cow holds a very sacred place in our religion and we will never allow these types of sacrilegious acts,” a VHP activist said.
A huge contingent of police and CRPF was deployed in Udhampur, Reasi and Kathua towns. Deputy Commissioner Udhampur Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said the situation remained tense. “Preliminary investigation suggests the cows died due to consuming some substance, which was found along with maize and wheat grains. Two birds were also killed due to consuming this substance,” he said, adding that there was little chance of “foul play” but that things could be clear only after a full investigation. “This is sensitive issue, therefore we cannot over-rule the possibility of a sacrilegious act. In this regard, three people have been booked and are being questioned,” Choudhary said.
A senior police officer at Kathua said that though people staged protests and tried to block roads, overall the situation remained under control. However, stray incidents of protests were also reported from Jammu.
Students of GGM Science College staged a demonstration against the ‘beef party’ organised by Er Rashid in Srinagar. Castigating Er Rashid, BJP state chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said that by organising a ‘beef party’, Rashid had hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community. He also demanded that a FIR be registered against him. The Yuva Rajput Sabha also protested and burnt an effigy of the legislator. State VHP President Leela Karan Sharma condemned the ‘sacrilegious act of killing’ three bovines in Chenani and the “spotting” of pieces of flesh in a water tank at Gadi, Udhampur. He also called for a Jammu bandh on Saturday.
The Panthers Party also supported the bandh call.
Pertinently, to ascertain the facts regarding the death of the three cows, a board of veterinary doctors was constituted by SDM Udhampur to conduct a postmortem on the animals. The postmortem report was submitted on Friday and the board concluded that the bovines died due to consumption of a poisonous substance.