Burning of ISIS Flag With Islamic Inscription Sparks Tension
JAMMU: Curfew was clamped on Rajouri town of Pir Pan-chal Valley in southern Kashmir on Tuesday following tension over burning of ISIS flag by VHP activists. The black flag of the Middle Eastern terror outfit bearsIslamic religious inscription, burning of which enraged the Muslim community.
Reports from Rajouri said that groups of youth took to streets to enforce a shutdown that was called by several Muslim groups in protest against the alleged sacrilege.
When youth forced traders from Hindu community to observe a shutdown clashes brokeout.
Reports said that large number of youth tried to take out a pro-cession whichwas intercepted and lathi-charged by police in Gujjar Mandi area. The clashes left several protesters and po-licemen injured.
Reports said that that in a bid to diffuse the tension, the local administration arranged a meeting of elders from both Hindu and Muslim communities who tried to carry out a joint peace march in the town. However when the march reached Abdullah bridge, they were confronted by local Muslim youth who refused to call off their protest unless police arrested those responsible for burning the flag. They started raising anti-VHP and Bajrang Dal slogans and held a sit-in on the bridge forcing elders from their community to withdraw from the peace march. To disperse the protestors police resorted to lathicharge at Abdullah bridge and soon violence spread to other parts of the town. As the news about police lathicharge spread, more and more people from outskirts of the town also started joining the protestors making it difficult for local police to control situation.
Sensing trouble, the district administration called out Army and immediately imposed curfew in the troubled town.
Rajouri Deputy Commissioner, Deepti Uppal said that the Army has been asked to carry out flag march which they have been doing. The situation is now under control, she said.
A leading cleric of the Muslim community alleged that some Hindu communal elements always try to foment trouble by indulging in mischief especially on the eve of Muslim festivals like Eid. Such elements are responsible for disruption of peace and they should be taken to task. In the name of nationalism, they sow the seeds of discord in the society, he said.
Meanwhile amid a fervent appeal to both the communities to maintain peace in the town, Deputy Chief Minister ruled out the possibility of the arrest of those who set ISIS flag on fire.
"As far as the setting the ISIS flags on fire is concerned, it is a symbol of a terrorist outfit," he said. "Is it possible? Burning of the symbol of terrorists and anti-national elements is the work of nationalism."
"They (VHP activists) cannot be arrested. This is not possible, why should we arrest them? Why should they be arrested," he said.
However, clarifying that it had no intention to hurt the sen-timents of Muslims, the VHP, on the other hand, asked the protesters to demonstrate against the ISIS for writing holy inscriptions on its flag.
"We had only burnt the ISIS flag. We did not know as to what was written on it in Arabic," the state VHP patron, Ra-makant Dubey said .
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