Restrictions in Old City : Kashmir protests in solidarity with Rohingya Muslims

Police vehicle set ablaze at Anantnag, 9 injured

Kashmir today witnessed widespread protests against the ongoing killings of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state of Myanmar during which people expressed solidarity with them. The protests turned violent in Anantnag while authorities imposed curbs in Old City of summer capital.

According to news agency GNS, thousands of people across Kashmir staged protests against “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar today after Friday prayers. The call for protests was given by Muttahida Majlis Ulema and joint resistance leadership. To prevent protests in Jama Masjid Srinagar, authorities imposed restrictions in several parts of downtown since morning.

According to officials, the restrictions were imposed in Nowhatta, Bohri Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Naid Kadal, Gojwara, Hawal, Nawa Kadal and Saraf Kadal areas of the Old City. The rest of the areas however were not placed under curbs. Government forces including police and CRPF were deployed in large numbers in these areas and residents were surprised at undeclared restrictions.

The authorities amid restrictions did not allow Friday prayers at Jama Masjid in Nowhatta. It also placed MIrwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of Hurriyat Conference (M) and cleric, under house arrest. Meanwhile, hundreds of people held protests in summer capital against the killings of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar after Friday prayers.

According to GNS, people staged protests at Safa Kadal, Nalbal Nowhshehra, Khanyar, Chinkral Mohalla Habba Kadal, Maisuma, Hyderpora, Shalimar, Pandrethhan, Rawathpora Baghat and Hassanabad Rainawari. While protests at most of the places concluded peacefully, the situation turned ugly at Safa Kadal and Nalbal Nowhshehra as youth and government forces clashed with each. Police resorted to teargas shelling to disperse the protesters. No one was reported injured.

In city’s Sher-e-Kashmir Park, Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) president Abdul Qayoom Wani led dozens of employees staged protests against the killings of Rohingya Muslims and expressed solidarity with them. The EJAC president along with his supporters tried to march to UN office but police did not allow them. Wani and several other employees were detained by police.

Massive clashes and protests erupted at Lal Chowk and KP Road in Anantnag district of South Kashmir today after Friday prayers. According to GNS, large number of people including youth took out a mass rally from Lal Chowk after Friday prayers which was led by Maulana Mushtaq Veeri of Jamiat Ahli Hadees. The rally participants staged protests against Rohingya killings and also in favour of Islam and Azadi.

The rally participants soon after spotting police turned violent and started pelting and chasing police. As per eyewitnesses, several policemen including an SI rank officer were beaten to pulp by protesters while a Rakshak vehicle of police was set ablaze outside the office of DC Anantnag. Huge contingent of police and paramilitary later used teargas against the angry protesters.

A police statement issued to GNS said: “Today, soon after the culmination of Friday prayers, some miscreants from a mob started pelting stones on the police and security force deployment at Lal Chowk, Anantnag. These miscreants also set a police vehicle on fire. The miscreants were chased off by using mild force.”

Six police personnel including two officers identified as DySP Hqrs Anantnag Shri Mohd Yousuf, SI Junaid Ahmad, HC Gurdeep Singh, Ct. Shabir Ahmad, Ct. Bilal Ahmad and Ct. Javaid Ahmad were injured in this incident, who were shifted to hospital for treatment, said the police. “A case was registered and investigation was set into motion to identify these miscreants,” the police statement added.

Meanwhile, massive protests and rallies in solidarity with Rohingya Muslims were also taken out in Rajpora, Dangerpora and Tral in Pulwama district. Similar rallies were taken out from Pakharpora, Imam Barah Budgam, Beerwah and Char-e-Shareef in Budgam district. In Main Town of Shopian district, the protests were also held against killings of Rohingyas. The protests also broke out at Arwani and Qazigund in Kulgam district and at Dooru, Achabal and Nowgam in Anantnag.

In North Kashmir, the protests broke out at Ajas and Safapora in Bandipora district while in Baramulla the protests in favour of Rohingya Muslims were staged at Khwaja Bagh, Kunzar, Tangmarg and GHSS Baramulla. The protests were also staged at Kupwara district. In Ganderbal, protests were held at Behama and Sonamrg.

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