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Removal of Bhindrawale’s poster: Sikh protesters clash with police in Jammu, one killed

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Jammu: A protester was killed and over a dozen others injured on Thursday in a clash between security forces and a group of Sikhs who blocked roads here against removal of a poster with a picture of late militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The incident sparked off more protests in the city and authorities called in the army to carry out a flag march.

The protester, identified as Jagjit Singh, son of Narveer Singh, resident of Chohala in RS Pura, was killed when police opened fire in Gadigarh (Satwari) area as protesters indulged in violence injuring three policemen, police said. The condition of the three has been described as critical by doctors, police said here.

Sikh protesters had blocked the Jammu-RS Pura road at Gadigarh by erecting road blocks and burning old tyres on the highway. They were agitating against the removal of Bhindranwale posters in the area by police on Wednesday.

An angry protester had attacked police assistant sub-inspector Arun Kumar with a knife in Satwari area of Jammu city on Wednesday, following which tension mounted among the Sikh community here.

Senior police and civil administration officials, including the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police, reached the spot.

Reinforcements of police and the Central Reserve Police Force have been sent to the area to prevent further violence.

After the news of the protester’s death spread, Sikh protesters blocked the Jammu-Pathankote national highway in Raj Bagh area in Kathua district. They also took to the streets in Sikh-dominated Nanak Nagar, Digiana and Golgujral areas of Jammu city.

The army carried out a flag march in Satwari area Thursday evening after the civil administration requested assistance.

“Army carried out a flag march on the road from R.S. Pura to Satwari due to the prevailing internal security situation. The district administration had requisitioned the army to instil confidence in the people,” an army statement said.

Ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti has condoled the death of the protester and appealed to all sections of the society to maintain calm and communal harmony in the city. (IANS)

 

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Pakistan And India To Construct a ‘Peace Corridor’

Indian pilgrims currently must seek visas to enter Pakistan and travel more than 200 kilometers to visit the Kartarpur shrine.

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Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, third left, stands for the national anthem during the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the planned road corridor to the Pakistan border, at Dera Baba Nanak,. VOA

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone Wednesday for what is dubbed as a cross-border “corridor of peace” to allow religious devotees from India’s minority Sikh community to make free visits to one of their holiest gurdwaras, or temples, on the Pakistani side after more than seven decades.

The temple, known as Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, is considered to be the first temple ever built and the final resting place of Guru Nanak, the Sikhism founder.

Indian leaders, on behalf of the Sikh community, have long been demanding Islamabad provide unrestricted access to the holy site in Kartarpur, in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

India’s and Pakistan’s independence from Britain in 1947 divided the Punjab province, where Sikhism was born.

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Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is seen during talks in Beijing, China. VOA

Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu performed the groundbreaking Monday on his side of the corridor at a ceremony just two kilometers from the Pakistani border.

The mutually agreed-to project is rare between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals. Historically strained ties have deteriorated in recent years and bilateral official talks remain suspended.

The fenced corridor of about five kilometers aims to connect the Kartarpur temple to the Sikh holy shrine at Dara Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district. Officials say the corridor will be in place for the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birth in November 2019.

Khan’s government has invited, among others, Indian officials and journalists for Wednesday’s groundbreaking in Kartarpur, three kilometers from the border with India. An Indian ministerial-level delegation is expected to attend the ceremony as special envoys of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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A Delhi-based Sikh organization Urges UN to Support Turbans as Religious Symbol. Pixabay

“Pakistan calls this a corridor of peace. I call it the corridor of infinite possibilities of peace,” Indian Punjab provincial minister Navjot Singh Sidhu told reporters shortly after arriving in Pakistan for the ceremony. He crossed the border by foot at the Wagah crossing near the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore to attend the event at the invitation of his friend, Prime Minister Khan.

Members of the Sikh community on both sides have welcomed the construction of the cross-border corridor linking the two holy sites.

Indian pilgrims currently must seek visas to enter Pakistan and travel more than 200 kilometers to visit the Kartarpur shrine. The temple is visible on clear days from a viewing stage on the Indian side, where religious devotees gather every day to have a glimpse of it.

Also Read: Vow To Hold Peace Talks With India: Pakistan’s Prime Minster Imran Khan

India and Pakistan have fought three wars, and mutual tensions often hamper pilgrims’ plans to get timely visas to visit the shrine. Two of those wars have been over the disputed Kashmir region, which remains at the center of tensions. (VOA)