Minority community in Kishtwar continue to observe shutdown in protest

Despite brokering peace in Kishtwar on Wednesday the state government Thursday failed to instill enough confidence among the members of the minority community to throw open their closed down shops for last 14 days.

kishtwarIronically, immediately after the curfew restrictions were lifted at 8.00 a.m the shops belonging to  the majority community were thrown open and markets were abuzz with activity. In total contrast the markets dominated by the members of the minority community remained closed in silent protest.

The minority community members were unhappy with the approach of the district administration in resolving the stalemate. In the evening the members convened a meeting where traders decided to continue their shutdown protest on Friday. Meanwhile, the members of the minority community visited the office of the DC Kishtwar and attended a meeting in connection with the Janamashtami celebrations.

The District authorities tried their level best to prevail upon the minority community representatives to give their nod to the proposal of setting refreshment points by the members of the majority community during the Janamashtami procession. Traditionally, the minority community takes out a grand procession on the auspicious day through the main city markets.

Meanwhile, the educational institutions also remained closed on Thursday as the district administration had relaxed curfew restrictions between 8.00 a.m to 7.00 p.m. During the day the members of the minority community ventured out of their homes but the markets remained closed.

In Jammu, BJP leaders Prof Nirmal Singh and Ashok Khajuria who were part of the All party delegation alleged that the state govt was ignoring the demands of the minority community and warned them against disbanding village defence committees and trimming down the security cover of the local BJP leader Sunil Sharma. The BJP leaders demanded full compensation for those whose shops were looted and burnt down.
The BJP leaders said that the hapless minorities of Kishtwar have been targeted from time to time and the successive governments did not deem it necessary to compensate them. They said that minorities of Kishtwar suffered damage to their 45 shops  in 1993, 34 shops were put to arson in 1998 and in 2003 again minorities suffered damages to their 55 shops.  Not only this, 57 shops were badly damaged in 2008 and again in 2013 their 90 shops and 70 vehicles have been destructed and damaged. The government paid a paltry sum of Rs. 20,000 each and in 2003 an amount of Rs. 1 lakh in 2008. No compensation was paid earlier, the BJP leaders said.

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