Muslims enraged over burning of kalima-inscribed flags; curfew imposed in town; deputy CM calls it an act of nationalism
Jammu: Curfew was imposed in Rajouri town on Tuesday following a strike and protests by Muslims over the burning of Islamic State flags that are inscribed with kalima, the Islamic declaration of faith.
Activists of militant Hindu organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad who, Muslims believe, are backed by the state, burnt the flags a couple of days ago in Rajouri town.
While dissociating themselves from the ideology of the IS and condemning its activities, Rajouri Muslims were enraged over the burning of the flags because, they told Kashmir Reader on Monday, the basic symbol of their faith is inscribed on these.
Muslims had demanded the arrest of VHP and RSS activists. All shops and offices in Rajouri town and other major parts of the district remained closed. Despite rains, scores of people assembled at various places in the district and demonstrated against the Hindu radicals who they said were trying to foment communal violence in the area.
The protesters shouted pro-Islam and anti-VHP, anti-RSS slogans and burnt tyres on the roads.
“We will not tolerate the attack on our religion. We will intensify protests if the government doesn’t act against the trouble mongers,” the protesters said.
The district administration had imposed Section 144 of CrPC, which bans assembly of four or more persons. However, in the wake of protests, authorities imposed curfew.
Deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh told reporters that burning of the “symbol of terrorist and anti-national elements is a nationalistic act”. At the same time, he called both communities to “observe calm”.
Singh also ruled out arrest of VHP activists, saying there is no reason to arrest them.
Jammu and Kashmir patron of the VHP, Ramakant Dubey was quoted by PTI as saying that his organisation had no intention to hurt sentiments of Muslims as those who burnt the flags did not know “what the Persian words written on them meant”.
The kalima on the IS flag is written in Arabic.
Dubey asked Muslims to demonstrate against the IS for writing kalima on its flag.
The burning of IS flag in Rajouri, a predominantly Muslim area, comes in the wake of frequent display of IS and Pakistani flags during anti-India demonstrations in the Valley.
Syed Ali Geelani, a popular resistance leader, has denounced IS ideology and its ways, and there is no evidence on ground to suggest that the group has any following in the state.