12 detained as place of worship ‘vandalised’ in Reasi

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Jammu,(CNI): A place of worship was allegedly vandalised by unidentified people in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district, triggering protests on Sunday by locals belonging to both the Hindu and Muslim communities, officials said.


At least 12 people have been detained as police have formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT), while Deputy Commissioner Vishesh Paul Mahajan has assured the protesters that stern action will be taken against the culprits.


The place of worship was found vandalised by a visitor in a village in the Dharmari area on Saturday evening, sparking tension and spontaneous protests, with the protesters demanding that the culprits be identified and punished.


Members of both the Hindu and Muslim communities jointly staged the protests and said such incidents are a deliberate attempt to create a rift among them to harm the age-old brotherhood in the district.


The protesters blocked the main road in the district by burning tyres and staging a sit-in, the officials said, adding that they dispersed peacefully after senior police officers told them that an FIR has been registered and efforts are on to nab the culprits.


“Anyone trying to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere will not be spared. It is an attempt to create hurdles and sabotage developmental activities, besides communal harmony.


“This is my guarantee…. We will not tolerate any attempt to damage peace in the district,” the deputy commissioner said.


Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Reasi, Mohita Sharma said 12 people have been detained in connection with the incident.


A case under section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been lodged at the Arnas police station and further investigation is on, she added.


Sensing the gravity of the incident, the SSP has constituted an SIT under the supervision of the deputy superintendent of police, operations, Reasi, who along with his team is stationed in Arnas for the investigation of the case on priority.


Police teams swung into action and rounded up three suspects on Saturday night, while a series of raids continued on Sunday and around nine more suspects were apprehended for questioning, Sharma said.


The SSP appealed to people to maintain calm, peace and communal harmony in the district, assuring them that police are committed to solving the case and tracing the culprits at the earliest.–(CNI)

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