Sikhs end protests in Jammu, army withdrawn

Jammu, June 6 (IANS) Life began limping to normalcy here on Saturday as authorities withdrew the army from areas that saw street protests over the removal of posters of Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Members of the Sikh community ended their dragging demonstrations after reaching a deal with the Jammu administration late Friday.

“The army has been withdrawn from the affected areas,” a senior official told IANS here. Curfew imposed in the troubled places was lifted.

The removal of the Bhindranwale posters triggered protests here this week, leading to the death of a young man in firing by security forces.

This fuelled more protests in larger areas, prompting authorities to call in the army. An indefinite curfew was imposed in parts of Jammu.

On Saturday, markets, public transport and other businesses in the areas of Satwari, Digiana, Nanak Nagar and Talab Tillo began functioning normally.

However, fewer private vehicles were on the roads. Internet connectivity, suspended by the district magistrate, has been restored.

But as a precaution, all educational institutions will remain closed in Jammu, Poonch, Samba, Kathua and Rajouri districts on Saturday, the official said.

Following the agreement with the Sikh community, authorities transferred Jammu’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Uttam Chand and placed under suspension the head of the Satwari police station, Kulbir Singh, pending an inquiry into the firing that left a Sikh youth dead.

An FIR was also registered in Satwari police station against the Jammu SSP’s security guards who allegedly opened fire at the Sikh youth.

Authorities have announced an ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakh and a government job to the next of kin of the slain youth.

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