PROTESTS ROCK KASHMIR AMID RESTRICTIONS, SHUTDOWN

Clashes In Srinagar, Baramulla; Demos In Tangdhar, Ladakh

ANTI-ISLAM FILM FALLOUT

SHABIR IBN YUSUF

Srinagar, Sep 21: Amid a spontaneous shutdown and police restrictions, massive protests against the blasphemous film made in the US rocked Kashmir Valley Friday with cops using force to disperse protestors at many places. Today’s shutdown transcended Valley’s boundaries as border town of Tangdhar and Ladakh region also remained shut and witnessed protests to denounce the blasphemous act.
Shops, banks and other business establishments across the valley and in Tangdhar and Ladakh region remained closed. Traffic including inter-district transport was off the roads and only the vehicles of police, paramilitary forces and Army were seen plying on the roads in Kashmir Valley.
Fearing law and order problems, the administration imposed strict restrictions on the movement of people in old Srinagar, Islamabad (Anantnag) town in south Kashmir and Baramulla town of north Kashmir. The police and paramilitary forces were deployed in strength on roads and by-lanes of every town.
Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) established barricades at roads junctions to stop the movement of people and transport in old Srinagar areas.
Additional policemen and CRPF personnel were deployed in the old Srinagar areas and other vulnerable areas of the city like Maisuma and Lal Chowk to maintain law and order.
At most of the places in old Srinagar, the residents were not able to offer the morning and Friday prayers. Friday prayers were not offered in historic Jamia Masjid as the area witnessed curfew-like situation.
“We were stopped from offering Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid,” Abdul Rashid, a Nowhatta resident said. “It was curfew-like situation in Nowhatta area,” he added.
Abdul Qadir of Babademb said that he could not venture out to mosque in the morning. “CRPF and policemen in large numbers were outside and they ordered me to move back,” he said. Qadir added that milkmen or bakers were not allowed to open shops.
A senior police officer here told Greater Kashmir that as a preventive measure to maintain law and order, Srinagar District Magistrate has ordered imposition of restrictions on movement of people and transport in six police station areas of old Srinagar. The officer said that restrictions were imposed in jurisdictions of police stations of Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, M.R. Gunj, Safakadal and Kralkhud.
In the uptown areas, markets and other business establishments remained closed and transport was off the roads. Police and CRPF men in riot gear were deployed in uptown areas to thwart any protest demonstration and ensure law and order.
However, soon after the Friday prayers in uptown, people took to streets and held strong protest demonstrations at several places.
Early in the morning groups of youth took to streets in Babademb area and held a peaceful protest demonstration against the film. They were chanting slogans against America and Israel. Later a heavy posse of police arrived on the spot and dispersed them.
After the Friday prayers the protestors clashed with police in Natipora and old Barzulla areas of Srinagar, however no one was injured. Peaceful demonstrations were also taken out in Rambagh.
In Habkadal area, groups of people protesting against the blasphemous act clashed with police and paramilitary forces. The police burst tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors, however no one was injured.
Protests also took place at Khanyar, Nowhatta, Qamarwari, Barthana, Bemina, Panthachowk and Pampore. “At these places there were minor clashes between the protestors and forces, but no one was injured,” said a senior police officer who was monitoring the situation.
In Hazratbal, the protests against the blasphemous film erupted in morning. The protestors clashed with police and pitched battles continued till evening. Protests broke out in Natipora and Old Barzulla area Friday evening.
Kashmir University students Friday afternoon took to the campus, protesting against the blasphemous film and sought blocking of the film and punishment to the blasphemer.
Hundreds of students shouted ant-America, anti-France and anti-Israel slogans which afterwards morphed into prop-freedom protests.

AHMAD KASHMIRI ADDS FROM BUDGAM:
People at various places in Budgam took to streets and held strong protest demonstrations against the blasphemous film. Soon after Friday prayers, hundreds of people in Budgam town and Chrar-e-Sharief took to streets and shouted anti-America and anti-Israel slogans. “The people here held peaceful protests,” said a middle-rung police official.
The youth gathered in Kunzar Chowk and blocked the traffic on Srinagar Gulmarg road, with anti-America placards in their hands they raised slogans and showed anger by raising pro-freedom slogans. The shops and the business establishments in the township of Kunzar remained shut for more than 3 hours. However later the procession dispersed peacefully allowing the stranded traffic to ply on Srinagar Gulmarg road.

SHEIKH NAZIR ADDS FROM GANDERBAL:
Soon after Friday prayers, massive anti-USA protests were held in Ganderbal, Kangan and Lar Tehsil.
People assembled outside Jamia Masjids after Friday prayers in Sonamarg, Killan, Gund, Mar, Cherwan, Bonibagh, Preng, Chhatergul, Preng Wussan and held protests in Kangan Tehsil.
In Ganderbal Tehsil people staged protests in Nunar, Dobhipora, Nagbal, Pandach, Faakh, Sherpathri, Saloora, Shalbugh and Drend.
Protests were also held at Manigam, Watlar, Barusa, Tullamulla, Safapora and Wakura in Lar Tehsil.
People in large number held protests in Beehama Chowk, Duderhama Chowk and Tawheed Chowk in Ganderbal town and in Lar market amid complete shutdown.
Amid pro-freedom and pro-Islamic slogans, massive protests were held in Kangan and protesters burned American and Israeli flags.

AWANTIPORA:
In Awantipora, protesters peacefully marched from Jamia Masjid Awantipora to Thanachowk after Friday prayers. There was no traffic on the Highway in the wake of protests.

SUHAIL AJMAL ADDS FROM BANDIPORA:
Amid complete shutdown, thousands of people in this north Kashmir district Friday took to streets in protest to the blasphemous film that has sparked violent demonstrations in the whole of Muslim world.
The protesters shouted anti-America, anti-France and anti-Israel slogans and demanded immediate banning of the blasphemous film. “It is time for the US, Israel and France to apologize otherwise the tide is rising day by day,” they said.
The rally in the main town Bandipora was led by Mufti Ishaq Nazki of Darul Uloom Raheemya.
Mufti told people to follow the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and warned the blasphemers of serious repercussions.
The district also observed complete shutdown. Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads. Work in government offices, banks and other institutions was affected. Heavy contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed on the roads to thwart any violent protest demonstration.
KUPWARA: Soon after Friday prayers, hundreds of people in frontier districts of Kupwara took to streets and held strong protest demonstrations. To thwart any protest demonstration, the authorities had deployed police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in heavy numbers on the roads. The protests against the anti-Islam film were witnessed Trehgam, Regipora, Kupwara town and Lolab. Protests were also held in Handwara, Magam, Kalamabad and Langate.
Massive protests amid a shutdown were reported from border town of Tangdhar. Soon after the Friday prayers the people took to streets and held protests demonstrations.

ALTAF BABA ADDS FROM BARAMULLA:
Amid complete shutdown, clashes between protesting youth and police broke out at several places in Baramulla town Friday afternoon.
Soon after the Friday prayers, scores of youths gathered near the Tehsil point Baramulla and started pelting stones towards the police station. The police immediately swung into action and pushed the protesting youths towards the cement bridge of the town.
Heavy clashes between protesting youths and the police were also reported from Khawjabagh area. Police used baton charge to quell the protesting youths at Khawjabgh and clashes were continuing till evening.
In Palhalan area of Pattan, soon after the Friday prayers, scores of youths took out a protest march against US and Israel. The protesting youths later started throwing stones at the police forcing the latter to use teargas canisters. No one was injured.
In border town of Uri, a complete shutdown was observed. All the shops were closed and transport was off the roads. Earlier hundreds of residents of Uri town took out a peaceful protest march from Uri to Lagama against the blasphemous US film.
Similar protests were witnessed in Kunzar area of Tangmarg where scores of youths took out a protest march after the Friday prayers. The protesters later dispersed peacefully.
In Rafiabad area, a complete shutdown was observed. In several parts of the area, huge protest marches were carried out by the youths. These protest marches which were led by the local clerics were carried out from Langate, Watergam, Behrampora and Dangiwacha.
Similar protests rallies were taken out from many areas of Sopore after the Friday prayers.

SOUTH KASHMIR:
All the major areas of south Kashmir witnessed peaceful protests and severe restrictions were imposed in Anantnag (Islamabad). Despite the restrictions and heavy presence of forces hundreds of people after Friday prayers took to streets and denounced the blasphemous act. They were chanting anti-America and anti-Israel slogans. Later the youth fought pitched battles with forces deployed to maintain law and order.
Protests were also held in Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts of south Kashmir. In Pulwama and Shopian the youth entered into clashes with police that continued till late in the evening.
In Pulwama town, soon after Friday prayers thousands of people took to streets and held strong protest demonstrations. They were chanting anti-America and anti-Israeli slogans. Groups of youth entered into pitched battles with forces.

LADAKH REGION:
Protests against the blasphemous film were also reported from Kargil and Leh towns of Ladakh region. Reports said amid a shutdown in these towns, soon after the Friday the people took to streets and held strong protests demonstrations against America and Israel.

PROTESTS BY DeM:
Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) on Friday accused the J&K police of ‘murderous assault on its members and chairperson Asiya Andrabi’ while leading an anti-blasphemy protest here.
“We were protesting against the anti-Islamic movie. It was a peaceful protest. We started protest from Gousia Hospital Khanyar and were on way to Lal Chowk when policemen near Munawarabad rained tear gas shells at us,” said Nahida Nasreen, General Secretary Dukhtaran-e-Millat. “Is raising a voice against the insult to our religion a crime?” Nasreen asked.
“We had our children with us. They did not spare anybody. They bundled Asiya Andrabi along with six associates in a Gypsy and lodged them in Ram Bagh police station,” Nahida added.
Apprehensive that separatist leaders may join protests, police on Friday lodged them in police stations and placed many of them under house arrest.
Chairman JKLF Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested from his Maisuma home and lodged in Kothibagh police station, a JKLF spokesman said.
Police had also placed Democratic Freedom Party president Shabir Ahmed Shah, National Front Chairman Nayeem Ahmed Khan, JKLF (H) Chairman Javaid Ahmed Mir, Salvation Movement Chairman Zafar Akbar Bhat under house arrest.
A police spokesman said that peaceful marches were taken out at many places across the Kashmir valley against the blasphemous movie clips.
The spokesman said that groups of people staged peaceful marches in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Handwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Sopore, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Awantipora.
“Situation remained peaceful across the valley, however a few minor stone pelting incidents were reported from Srinagar, Pulwama, Baramulla, and Shopian,” the spokesman said.

GEELANI, OTHER HURRIYAT (G) LEADERS ARRESTED:
The chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani along with his associate Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ganai was arrested today by the police outside his Hyderpora residence here.
The duo, according to a Hurriyat statement, has been lodged in police station Humhama.
“Geelani, who was under house arrest, left his house along with Tehreek-e-Hurriyat press secretary Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ganai for offering Friday prayers in a local mosque. The moment they stepped out of the house, police arrested them and shifted them to Humhama police station,” said a spokesman of the Hurriyat.
Meanwhile, Hurriyat has strongly condemned the arrest, terming it open interference in the religious affairs of people. “Police is continuously stopping him from offering Friday prayers since April 6, 2012,” said the spokesman, adding that “Hurriyat leaders Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Muhammad Ashraf Laya have also been placed under house arrest. Police has also arrested other leaders including general secretary Ghulam Nabi Sumji, district president for Srinagar Gen Musa, Muslim League acting Amir Muhammad Yousuf Mir, TeH district president for Pulwama Mohi-ud-Din Andrabi, Tehsil president Tral Fayaz Ahmad and Syed Imtiyaz Hyder, lodging them in different police stations.”
The spokesman alleged that the police raided the house of acting district president for Islamabad (Anantnag) Sheikh Mohi-ud-Din this morning but he was not present there.
Hurriyat has condemned the police action against its leaders.

UMMAT-I-ISLAMI ORGANIZE PROTEST MARCH:
Ummat-I-Islami organised a peaceful march in Islamabad. Thousands of people led by the chairman of Ummat-I-Islami, Mirwaiz Dr. Qazi Ahmed Yasir, marched towards Lal Chowk. The protesters were shouting pro-Islam slogans.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST




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