Kishtwar, Doda Shut Down After Protests, Clashes
Srinagar – Angry protests continued in the Chenab Valley on Tuesday as Kishtwar and Doda regions remained shut down for the second day following violence over insulting facebook uploads of the Holy Quran and the Kaaba on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.
Authorities have blocked the offending facebook pages, and arrested three persons in Kishtwar, including two Rahbar-e-Taleem teachers, and booked them under the Public Safety Act (PSA) for posting the material on the internet.
According to reports, the two teachers have also been dismissed from service.
Police were forced into action by large demonstrations, which turned violent at several places, demanding action against the culprits.
The three persons arrested have been identified as Rahbar-e-Taleem teachers Shauri Sharma of Pasar Kote Chatru, and Bansi Lal of Kherian, and Keerti Sharma of Pasar Kote, Chatru.
The district magistrate has sought a detailed report from the local superintendent of police, ordering him to take further action against the trio under the PSA.
After protests by the majority community, and the arrest of the culprits, the minority community was said to have attacked the demonstrations with stones, sparking off intermittent street battles for most of the day.
Both communities observed a total hartal in Kishtwar, Doda and outlying areas on Tuesday, reports said.
Businesses, schools and government offices remained closed, and traffic off the roads.
Heavy contingents of police and paramilitary men have been moved into the affected areas to maintain law and order.
Thousands of people took to the streets in Chatru today to protest against the cyber offence, and demanded severe punishment to the culprits.
The protestors blocked roads by erecting barricades on street corners and key crossings.
The protests spread to other areas of the Muslim-dominated region as well, with people pouring out in numerous Doda and Badarwah localities.
Kishtwar police has registered an FIR under sections 153A and 295A of the RPC and sections 66A and 67A of the IT Act.
HURRIYAT (M) REACTS
Meanwhile, the Hurriyat (M) has condemned the insulting facebook depictions of Quranic verses by communal elements in Kishtwar.
A deplorable campaign of conspiracies and calumny against Islam, the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and the Muslim ummah continues unabated at the local, national and international levels, which not only is intolerable for us but also inimical to world amity and peace besides being antithetical to all noble human values, a Hurriyat (M) spokesman said, commending the people of the Chenab region for their peaceful protests and shutdown over the offensive facebook episode.
Reacting to the Kishtwar episode of facebook insults to Islamic symbols, the chairman of the Hurriyat (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on Tuesday said that India wanted to spark off communal disturbances in the state to project the Kashmir issue as a Mulsim versus non-Muslim strife to create confusion in the international community and divert its attention from the real problem.
Accusing the state government o encouraging communal forces instead of clamping down on them, he said that the Indian rulers had initiated the strategy after brutality of their forces had failed to subdue Kashmiris, and sops and inducements failed to silence them.
Indian communalists are targeting the Jammu region in particular, and the paln is being put into action systematically whereby suspicious non-locals are acting as priests in temples and, according to some reports, arms are being surreptitiously stocked in the places of worship, Geelani said.
Now, such forces have spread to Doda and Kishtwar as well, using the occasion of Eid to disrupt the peace by posting offensive anti-Islam material on facebook, he said, lauding the people of the region for their strong protests against the incident.
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