JAMMU: Appealing for calm in the wake of the desecration of a temple in Jammu city by a "mentally disturbed" person last evening, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said she does not want the state to be "hijacked" by extremist forces.
"Jammu and Kashmir is the most secular place and I don't want it to be hijacked by extremist forces," Mehbooba said while addressing a function at Jammu University today.
She said some elements were "hell-bent" on creating communal tension in the region but the people of Jammu, irrespective of their religion, must unite and fight the nefarious designs of such forces.
"Separatism and communalism are the two faces of a same coin and they ultimately divide the society and the country," she said.
An ancient temple situated in Roop Nagar area of Jammu was desecrated by a "mentally disturbed" person yesterday, triggering protests across the city.
Protestors had last night set three vehicles on fire and clashed with police after the news spread.
Authorities have suspended mobile internet services in Jammu region as a precautionary measure.
Mehbooba said time and again the people of Jammu have shown their secular credentials and it was evident from the fact that the region gave refuge to people who came there while fleeing from militancy-hit areas.
"In 1990, people of Jammu opened their doors for the people who escaped militancy and took refuge here. Jammu has always been a shining example of secular harmony," she said.
She said that it was the people of Jammu who voted her father to the Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1985.
"It was the secular character of Jammu that they elected my father, a Muslim from Kashmir, from R S Pura," she said.
The Chief Minister warned that communal politics in Jammu region could have a disastrous effect as the state was already facing separatism in the Kashmir valley.
She appealed to students to play a positive role and get involved in political activities, but at the same time cautioned them against politics of religion.