Rallies, protests across Valley; calls for Muslims to end differences and stand united for sake of Ummah
Srinagar: Waving pictures of their Muslim brethren in far-off Rakhine state of Myanmar, hundreds of people in Kashmir and Chenab valley on Friday marched in protest against the Myanmar state for persecuting the ethnic minority Rohingyas.
Pro-Rohingya protests and rallies were held across the Valley after the congregational Friday prayers. In Srinagar, though, the government disallowed Friday prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid. The Mirwaiz was detained at his Nigeen residence.
The Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had asked Kashmiris to observe Friday in solidarity with the helpless Rohingyas who are fleeing the Myanmar state after facing onslaught by its military and civilian government led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
In Srinagar, pro-Rohingya protests were held at Maisuma, Abiguzar, Saraibala, Hyderpora, Natipora, Chanapora, Nowhatta, Safakadal, Soura, Humhama, Peerbagh and other parts.
The protesters castigated the international community for maintaining criminal silence over the persecution. They said that fascist forces across the globe were taking pleasure in the killing of innocent Muslims at the hands of fanatic Buddhists and the Myanmar Army.
At Hyderpora, massive pro-Rohingya protests were led by Nisar Hussain Rather, Syed Imtiyaz Haider, Bashir Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Muhammad Shah, Mehraj ud Din Rabbani, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, and Muhammad Yousuf Bhat.
At Press Enclave Srinagar, a Shia organisation ‘Majmai Islam Kashmir’ staged a peaceful protest against the torture and killings of Muslims in Burma. The protest was led by Aga Syed Aleem Jan and Aga Syed Gulzar.
Moulana Gulam Mohhamad Gulzar, a Shia cleric and a resident of Shalina, said that even if Rohingyas would not have been Muslims, “it still would have been the moral obligation of the Muslim community to condemn the atrocities and extend support to the sufferers of the region.”
The protesters also expressed shock over the silence of the United Nations and global human rights groups. “Even if a small animal accidently gets killed in Europe or the United States of America, a huge hue and cry is raised across the globe, but today when innocent people are being butchered, world bodies have maintained a criminal silence,” he said.
Gulzar urged the entire Muslim community “to end their differences and stand united for the sake of Ummah”.
At University of Kashmir, scores of students held a massive protest demonstration in the varsity campus to protest against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.
After offering congregational Friday prayers, the students assembled outside the Jami Masjid of the varsity and raised slogans in favour of Islam and Rohingyas.
The students later marched through the varsity campus and assembled in the lawns of Allama Iqbal library. A number of students spoke on the occasion, condemning the Myanmar government’s response and the silence of the world community.
Protesters in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district set ablaze a police Rakshak vehicle and thrashed some cops, including an officer.
Clashes also erupted in Pulwama district after Friday prayers. A large number of people took out a protest rally from the town’s Jamia Masjid.
The rally was stopped by police, at which youths pelted the policemen with stones and clashes ensued. Police used tear smoke shells to disperse them. The clashes led to shopkeepers lowering their shutters.
In Pampore, hundreds of people assembled in the Khankah-e-Moula and marched towards the Srinagar-Jammu highway. They carried banners and placards and raised slogans against the Myanmar government and international human rights organisations, witnesses told Kashmir Reader.
The protest at Pampore was organised by the Falah Behbud Committee.
A protest rally was also held in Tral town soon after prayers at Khankah-e-Faiz and Jamia Masjid Khanmoh. The participants raised slogans against the atrocities on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Protests were also reported from Budgam, Tral, Pakharpora and other parts of the Valley.
Routine life was disrupted in Chenab valley after a shutdown was called against the killing of Rohingya Muslims and against the “provocative statements of the Indian government” for deporting Rohingya refugees.
Shops and business establishments and some private schools of Muslims remained closed because of the shutdown in Bhaderwah and Kishtwar areas.
Reports said that government schools, offices and banks were functioning normally and traffic plied as usual.
The shutdown call was issued by Anjuman-e-Islamia Bhaderwah, Markazi Seerat Committee Doda, Majlis-e-Shoura Kishtwar, Anjuman Islamia Bhalessa and Thathri.
The shutdown was also called to show resentment against the central government “for harassing Rohingya refugees and threatening to forcibly deport them at the behest of RSS”.
“This is really unfortunate that the Indian government, which never misses an opportunity to call itself as the largest democracy, is harassing and threatening to forcibly deport Rohingya Muslims to Burma, where hundreds of them are being killed every day. Surprisingly, the United Nations, human rights organisations and Amnesty International have maintained a criminal silence,” said Pervaiz Ahmed Sheikh, President of the Anjuman-e-Islamia Bhaderwah.
Banihal town of Ramban district also observed shutdown against the persecution of Rohingyas. Shops and other business establishments stayed closed and traffic remained off roads. The district Bar association also staged a protest to denounce the killings, reports said.
In its statement, the MMU spokesperson said, “Muslim Ummah is one and every Muslim is part of it. It is the religious, moral and human responsibility for us to raise voice against the ultimate form of atrocities being inflicted on the Rohingya Muslims including children, elderly and women. Kashmiri people can well understand the sufferings of their Muslim brethren in Myanmar as we have seen the worst over the past three decades.”
In central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, protests were held after congregational prayers in Sonamarg, Kangan and Benhama areas.
In Kangan, people took out a protest march carrying banners and raising slogans in favour of Muslims and Rohingyas in particular.
Moulana Ajaz ullah Qadir addressed people at Markazi Hanfia Jamia Masjid Gund Sonamarg. He condemned the atrocities committed on the innocent Muslims of Burma and said that the Muslims of Kashmir are with them in this hour of grief.