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The city wore a deserted look today with all major shopping areas, trading markets and schools closed following a bandh call given by Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHCBA) to protest against the growing illegal presence of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi nationals while also demanding a CBI probe into the Kathua rape-cum-murder.
The bandh call, which had not been supported by Jammu chambers of commerce, had echoed a demand of some BJP leaders including Forest Minister Lal Singh and Industries and Commerce Minister Chander Parkash Ganga, ministers in PDP-BJP coalition, for handing over the case to the CBI.
Jammu has been tense since the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl belonging to the nomadic Muslim Bakerwal community. The police has arrested eight persons in the case but the Bar Association has opposed the action alleging "targeting of minority Dogras".
Some of the arrested accused belonged to Hindu Ekta Manch, a right wing group.
The BJP has publicly distanced itself from the group but the party has found it difficult to explain presence of two of its ministers at a rally organised in support of the accused.
Earlier, some lawyers even tried to prevent a police team from filing a charge sheet in the case following which another case was registered yesterday against those who obstructed the sleuths.
The case has even divided the state's polity, as some BJP ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti government have questioned the role of the police.
The Jammu administration had today announced closure of all educational institutions in the city as a precautionary measure. Very few vehicles were seen plying on the road and the number further reduced when some public vehicles were targeted in Janipur, north of Jammu city.
Lawyers were seen taking out protest rallies in the city during which they shouted slogans about sending Rohingyas and Bangaldeshis back.
He said police had made necessary arrangements to ensure the day passed off peacefully.
The strike also had its effect in Kathua, Samba and Udhampur districts of the Jammu province, officials said.
Carrying a tricolour and shouting slogans in support of their demands, JHCBA members led by their president B S Slathia staged a rally near the High Court complex and visited various markets in the old city seeking support.
A group of lawyers also blocked the court road near Janipur shouting go back, go back, Rohingyas go back.
Reports reaching here from Samba said, bandh supporters blocked the Jammu-Kathua highway near Jatwal. However, the protesters later dispersed and the traffic on the highway was restored, the officials said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)