Jammu goes offline ahead of controversial wrestling event

Updated - October 18, 2016 03:02 pm IST

Published - June 22, 2016 01:45 am IST - Srinagar:

Internet services were shut down and a huge bandobast put in place in Jammu on Tuesday ahead of a wrestling event at the Bagh Jogian area of the Bishnah town, 30 km from Jammu. Two communities lay claim over the venue at which the event is held annually. Scores were injured in 2014 when violence erupted there.

“Due to a long-pending dispute, mobile Internet services were suspended across the region,” said Simrandeep Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Jammu).

Locals told The Hindu over phone that several houses of people belonging to a community were taken over by security personnel to allow the event to go ahead peacefully.

While the local Auqaf says the land is a graveyard, the local dangal (wrestling) committee associated with a temple claims it belongs to them and “has been a dangal venue for centuries.”

“Around 10 families’ kith and kin are buried in the pre-1947 graveyard,” claimed a village elder from a particular community.

A one-man commission that was last year assigned the job of resolving the dispute is yet to share its findings.

However, on Tuesday, the two communities agreed that the wrestling event would be held at “a mutually-agreed designated place.”

“We believe this will be the last event on the ground as the one-man committee will resolve the dispute by returning complete ownership rights to the right community,” said a village elder.

There have been three alleged incidents of temple desecration in the Jammu region in the recent past, forcing the authorities to take extraordinary measures to keep the situation under control.

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