Authorities imposed curfew in Zanskar region of Kargil District on Saturday when majority Buddhist community after getting enraged over inter-religious marriage, set two police vehicles on fire. Agitated Buddhists attacked police station Padum and take scores of policemen as hostage for hours.
A resident of Padum Zanskar told a local news agency, CNS that few days ago a Muslim guy Mohammad Khan son of Toib Khan married a Buddhist girl Padma Dolma secretly in Srinagar. “As the word about this inter-marriage spread in the sub-division, Zanskar Buddhist Association approached authorities and the couple was apprehended from Mehjoor Nagar area of Srinagar City on Friday,” he said.
A police official on condition of anonymity told CNS that the couple was taken into custody and during questioning; the girl admitted that she willingly came with the Muslim guy to Srinagar and no one forced her for this purpose.
As the word about the arrest of the couple spread in Padum area of Zanskar, hundreds of agitated Buddhists came on roads and shouted anti-Muslim slogans. Eyewitnesses told CNS that the protestors marched towards Police Station Padum and attacked it. They pelted stones on policemen and set two police vehicles on fire. Agitated protestors resorted to stone pelting and attacked the houses of Mohammad Iqbal and Abdul Aziz.
“We are feeling unsafe as the hundreds of Buddhists are getting assembled in Dalai Lama Monestry and they are hell bent to disturb the peace in the subdivision,” one of the Muslim residents told CNS.
Soon after the violent protests, authorities imposed curfew in Padum and its adjacent areas. Large contingent of police personnel have been deployed in the area to thwart any further protest attempts by Buddhists.
An official said that situation is under control and policemen have been deployed in strength in the area. “No one would be allowed to disturb the peace in the area,” he said.
Pertinently, Zanskar Sub-Division is a Buddhist majority area where Muslims are in minority. All the Muslim population is confined to Padum town which is one of the historical towns of Jammu and Kashmir. Muslims in the region are well settled and affluent. Such marriages are common in Zanskar and there are scores of instances wherein Buddhist girls have married to Muslim boys.