JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir’s BJP youth wing chief and some members were detained by the police on Wednesday as they tried to stage a protest outside the residence of National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah over allegation that the house has been built over encroached government land, officials said.
Ex-chief minister Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, also a former CM, have been named by the J&K administration in a list of people who had allegedly encroached on forest land.
The administration claimed that the house in Jammu, belonging to Farooq Abdullah and his son, was built on encroached land, a charge denied by the National Conference.
Arun Dev Singh Jamwal, the president of the BJP youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), and other activists were detained during their bid to stage the protest even as some National Conference members launched a counter-agitation, the officials said.
Led by Jamwal, BJYM members also raised slogans against Abdullah near his residence in Bhatandi.
Police personnel, who were deployed in strength, chased them away and detained Singh, Hari Om and other BJYM activists, the officials said.
Meanwhile, several NC members and locals gathered there and staged a counter-protest, alleging the BJP was deliberately trying to “vitiate the peaceful atmosphere” ahead of the ensuing District Development Council (DDC) elections.
The officials said police had a tough time to maintain law and order but it managed to keep the rival groups away from each other.
Later, the NC activists tried to take out a protest march against the BJP but police persuaded them too to disperse.
“The BJP is deliberately defaming Abdullahs ahead of the DDC elections. What is the meaning of holding protest outside Abdullah”s residence? We believe they are trying to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere by triggering communal clashes,” an NC activist said.
He questioned how the BJYM activists were allowed to reach the residence of Abdullah despite strengthened security.
“We will not allow them to hold protests here,” he said.
Another protester claimed that the BJP is playing “dirty politics” to silence opposition leaders.
However, BJYM workers said they were holding peaceful protest and some people tried to give it a twist.
They said there is nothing wrong in holding peaceful protests.
Farooq Abdullah has built the home on encroached land, they alleged. “Why is the NC using its workers to even prevent protests?” asked a BJYM worker.
Meanwhile, the state police in an advisory asked people not to circulate any message in the form of videos, audio and picture etc on social media or any other platform having potential to cause communal tension.
“This is an offence under law. Police are constantly monitoring social media and will take strict legal action against those found indulging in it. People are advised not to post anything incriminating”, a police official said.
He said that it is also requested to the public to inform authorities about any hateful material circulated on social media by informing police on 100 and not by posting on media platforms.
In view of the security situation at Bhatindi, senior police officials including the DIG, Jammu, and the SSP, Jammu, held a special meeting with the residents of the area, he said.
Their grievances were listened to and addressed on spot, he added.
He said that the situation is normal in the area.