Protests across Kashmir against US and Israel
Srinagar: Muslims across the Kashmir valley as well as in Ladakh held protests on Friday against the United States’ decision to recognise Jerusalem – the third holiest site of Islam – as the capital of Israel. The state government imposed strict restrictions in parts of Srinagar and barred the faithful from entering the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta to offer congregational prayers.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik had called for protests on Friday to condemn the US move which has hurt sentiments of Muslims across the world.
Officials said that partial restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar, including Nawa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Nowhatta, Maharaj Gunj and Bohri Kadal.
Protests against US President Donald Trump’s decision were held at places across Kashmir, including at Zadibal, Hassanabad, Maisuma and Budgam, where people raised slogans against Trump, the US, and Israel. Muslim clerics spoke in their Friday sermons about the importance of Jerusalem in Islam and what steps should be taken to safeguard the interests of Muslims.
A massive protest was reported from Hassanabad in Rainawari area of old Srinagar. Angry protestors set ablaze a Donald Trump effigy and chanting pro-freedom slogans, they called for Islamic countries to snap ties with the United States.
A protest demonstration was taken out in Srinagar’s Abuguzar, the Bund, and Maisuma areas, where protestors marched with placards in support of the Palestinian people and against the US. They marched towards Budshah Chowk and Lal Chowk and sat down on the road in Maisuma.
In Budgam, hundreds of protestors rallied in the main market. Led by the Khateeb of Imambara Budgam, protestors demanded that Trump retract the decision and chanted “Long Live Palestine! Long Live Islam!” They marched down one of the district’s busiest roads, bringing traffic to a standstill, carrying banners that read, “Down with USA’s President Trump” and “Jerusalem, eternal capital of Palestine”.
Reports from Anantnag said protests against Trump’s decision were held at KP Road soon after the Friday congregational prayers.
Police had to use tear-smoke shells to disperse protestors in main chowk Pulwama, where the deployed policemen were pelted with stones. Reports said that protestors raised anti-US and anti-India slogans during their march.
Protests were also held in Kakapora, Sambora, Tahab and Rajpora areas of Pulwama district.
In north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, reports said that a large number of people hit the roads in Handwara town shortly after the culmination of congregational prayers, and set US and Israeli flags on fire.
The protestors chanted anti-Trump, anti-Israel and anti-US slogans. They described Trump as the “worst enemy of Islam ever existing on the planet”. The protest march culminated peacefully.
In Ladakh, reports said that protests were held in Drass and Kargil towns soon after the Friday namaz. Under the banner of the Imam Kamahi Memorial Trust (IKMT) and the Islamiya School, Kargil (ISK), people came out on roads and held protests. Speakers at the gathering in Kargil condemned the US president’s decision and requested the United Nations (UN) to take immediate action.
The government, meanwhile, continued to detain Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Geelani in his Hyderpora residence, not allowing him to move out for Friday prayers. His deputy and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat secretary-general, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, was detained in his Baghat residence.
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was earlier placed under house detention on Thursday evening.
A Hurriyat Conference source said that several Geelani-led activists were detained late Thursday evening. “Syed Imtiyaz Hyder, Muhammad Yaseen Attai and Mohammad Yousuf Bhat were arrested from their residences and detained at Police Station Budgam,” he said.
A Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) spokesperson said that police arrested activists Mohammad Ishaq Ganaie and Assadullah Sheikh from their houses on Thursday.
Slamming the government for restrictions imposed in Srinagar, the Mirwaiz termed it as a ‘Shameful Operating Procedure (SOP)’ in a post on Twitter, mocking the official term ‘Standard Operating Procedure’.
Mirwaiz said that the “authoritarian regime” had once again resorted to SOP and disallowed Friday congregational prayers. “Muslims were barred from expressing their resentment against the US decision,” he said.