News & Current Affairs

August 23, 2008

Muslims in huge Kashmir protest

Muslims in huge Kashmir protest

Muslims protest in Srinagar 22 August

The protests have been going on for two months

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have taken part in a protest rally called by separatist leaders in Indian-controlled Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar.

The rally ended with the leaders calling a three-day strike, beginning Saturday, in the Kashmir valley.

This is the fourth big protest in the Muslim-dominated valley in less than two weeks.

Anti-Indian sentiment has grown following a dispute over the granting of land to a Hindu shrine organization.

More than 21 people died last week in the valley after police fired on protesters.

Trouble began two months ago when the state government granted a small piece of land to a trust running the Amarnath Hindu shrine.

After violent protests by Muslims in the valley, the order was rescinded which led to equally violent protests in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Friday’s protests come after three days of relative calm in the valley which allowed residents to stock up on supplies.

Cheering supporters

Through the morning, hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people on foot marched towards the Eidgah ground in the old city area of Srinagar.

Schools, businesses and shops were shut across the region and a large number of troops deployed on the streets.

The support for the marchers could be gauged from the fact that a large number of people – including women – were lined up by the road-side cheering them on.

In many places, the marchers were offered fruit juices and women could be seen praying for their success, our correspondent says.

The crowds thronged the Eidgah ground where senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Maulvi Omar Farooq, Shabbir Shah and Yasin Malik took stage.

However, they could not address the rally as the public address system got disconnected by the milling crowds.

The row started two months ago when the state government said it would grant 99 acres (40 hectares) of forest land to the Amarnath Shrine Board.

Muslims launched violent protests, saying the allocation of land was aimed at altering the demographic balance in the area.

The state government said the shrine board needed the land to erect huts and toilets for visiting pilgrims.

But following days of protests, the government rescinded the order, prompting Hindu groups to mount violent protests of their own.


Are you in Srinagar? Have you been affected by the protests? Send us your experiences

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1 Comment »

  1. Amarnath shrine is a symbol of kashmiri culture of communal harmony. The affairs of the shrine and yatra must remain a sole responsibility of the people of Kashmir in order to continue the age old tradition of yatra in harmony. Hindu extremists like Jana Sangh, BJP, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal from Jammu should not be given any role in the management of the shrine for carrying out their communal agenda.
    In terms of the Constitution of J&K (SEC. 25) the Government cannot promote activities of a particular religion or religious activity. Hence the Government should have no role in the management of the Shrine Board. However, it is the responsibility of the Government to provide all the required facilities for people attending functions of religious nature like pilgrimage etc. Hence the Government should own the responsibility for all the facilities and amenities for the yatris including travel, shelter, security, medical facilities, sanitation and last but not the least protection of environment. The role of the Shrine Board should remain sole confined to the religious ceremony, rituals at the shrine proper and finances of the shrine. The Shrine Board should not be allowed to play a negative role of spreading communal hatred, grabbing forest land and destroying environment in the name of religion.
    The Jammu people especially the Hindu extremists, who are spearheading the agitation for having a total control on the economic benefits of the yatra, have no locus standi to be a part of the Amarnath Shrine Board and no such arrangement will be acceptable to the people of Kashmir who are real the guardians of the Amarnath Shrine.
    We have discovered this shrine.
    We are the true guardians of this shrine.

    Comment by manzurbhat — August 31, 2008 @ 9:20 am


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