Scores of people on Monday staged a protest demonstration in Sogam Lolab area of the frontier district of Kupwara in northern Kashmir over a blasphemous video posted by a self-styled godman in Jammu region.
The protest, spearheaded by president Lolab Youth Organisation Er. Mudasir Ahmad, saw the participation of scores of locals, including children and elderly, from Sogam and its adjacent areas.
Urging the administration to step in, the people demanded that "such unscrupulous elements be dealt with sternly to serve a message to other such like-minded people to avoid communal hatred."
On the occasion, the protesters raised slogans of "Dhongi Baba Haie Haie", "Gustaaki Na Manzoor", "Gustaakh Ko Phaansi Do".
"Any act of dishonour against the Prophet of Islam (SAW) is unacceptable to every Muslim of the world and to raise voice against this act is the matter of faith for every Muslim," said a protester.
"Our prophet is our honour and pride and we can't compromise on this", another local said, adding: "We demand a strict punishment to all those involved in this act otherwise we will hit the roads again." The protetsers later on dispersed from the venue peacefully.
Protest demonstrations have also been reported from Tral town of Pulwama district.
The agitated people asked the administration "to take immediate action and hang the culprits involved in the derogatory act."
Protests were reported from the highway town of Banihal today morning where people also demanded strict action against the culprits.
Meanwhile, Jammu police have arrested the third accused involved in the "communally sensitive video".
Rohit Sharma, a resident of Pacca Danga locality, is the third accused arrested in connection with the case related to the communally sensitive video, a police official said.
Earlier, the main accused Satpal Sharma and his associate Deepak were arrested in the city soon after the video containing derogatory remarks against a particular religion went viral on Sunday.
A case has been lodged under section 153A IPC (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295A IPC (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) at Pacca Danga police station.
Taking note of the incident, Inspector General of Police, Jammu, Mukesh Singh had on Sunday warned people against sharing the video and said strict action will be taken against the guilty.
"My appeal to the people is not to circulate such videos which cause harm to brotherhood and communal harmony in the society. It is not good for all of us," he had said.
"If we find anybody deliberately sharing the video, we will take strict action against him," he had said.
In view of the incident, police took preventive measures in all sensitive areas across Jammu region and strengthened deployment to maintain law and order, the officials said.
Prominent citizens and religious leaders of all faiths have appreciated the police for taking prompt action against the accused and asked people to cooperate with the law enforcing agencies.
People are requested not to fall prey to communal hatred and defeat them by maintaining peace and communal harmony, they said.
Different parts of Chenab valley comprising three districts of Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar observed a shutdown on Monday to press for strict action against the accused.
People in Banihal town along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district also staged a demonstration, forcing brief suspension of the traffic on the highway, the officials said.
Normal life was affected in Bhadarwah, Doda, Thathri, Bhallesa and Kishtwar areas due to a joint shutdown call given by various religious groups to register their protest.
Shops and other business establishments belonging to a particular community in Chenab Valley remained closed, but government offices and banks functioned normally, reports reaching here said.
In the communally sensitive Kishtwar town, police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in strength and patrolling intensified as a precautionary measure.
Elaborate security arrangements were also made in all the major towns of Chenab valley including Doda, Bhadarwah, Thathri and Kishtwar, the officials said.