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Curfew in Kishtwar as riot toll rises to two

Curfew in Kishtwar as riot toll rises to two

Jammu: Indefinite curfew continued for the second day Saturday in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar town where the death toll in communal clashes rose to two.

The body of one person apparently set ablaze by rioting mobs in Kishtwar town of Jammu region was found late Friday night, raising the toll in the clashes to two. The number of injured is over 60.

A senior officer said the charred body of a person was found in Chowgam ground of Kistwar town.

"The body has been kept at the hospital", the officer said.

Arvind Kumar Bhagat, who was injured in a shotgun firing, had succumbed to pellet injuries in the hospital.

Doctors have described conditions of two of those injured in Friday's clashes as critical.

The clashes between two communities in Kishtwar took place on Eid-ul-Fitr Friday after about 500 villagers raised pro-independence slogans.

More than 80 shops, a petrol pump, an oil tanker, some police and fire service vehicles and the office of the chief education officer were torched by mobs Friday.

The administration called out the army after the police failed in bringing the situation under control.

The army carried out a flag march in the town around 7.30 p.m. Friday. Reports from the town said although the army was called out at noon, riots were brought under control only in the evening

State government announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs.5 lakh in favour of the next of kin of the dead.

Shant Manu, divisional commissioner (Jammu), has ordered to conduct a magisterial probe into the violence in Kishtwar. The report has to be submitted to the state government within three weeks.

Kishtwar is the home town and the assembly constituency represented by Sajad Kitchloo of the ruling National Conference (NC).

Kitchloo is the minister of state (Home). He had come to his home in connection with the Eid celebrations when communal riots broke out in the town.

In a late-night reshuffle, Basheer Ahmad Khan has been posted as the new district magistrate, and Sanjay Kotwal as the superintendent of police of Kishtwar -- removing both the district magistrate and the district police chief.

Ashok Prasad, state director general of police (DGP), Suresh Kumar, commissioner (home) and P.L. Gupta, additional DGP (coordination) are camping in Kishtwar to supervise the restoration of law and order.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and some other political parties have announced a shutdown in Jammu Saturday in protest against Friday clashes.

Hardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has also announced a Valley-wide shutdown to protest the Kishtwar clashes.

State Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand met prominent citizens in Jammu city Friday, appealing for calm.

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