Kashmir protests against attacks on Jammu Muslims

Srinagar (16 January, 2017): The attack on Muslim community members allegedly by RSS and BJP activists in Kathua district of Jammu province in J&K state created furore in the Assembly (as Budget session 2017-18 is in progress at the winter capital Jammu). Apart from condemnations, joint separatist leadership here called for a valleywide shutdown against the attack. Police registered FIR No: 05 U/S 295 A/298A/120B of RPC in the case and made some arrests as well.

As the issue was raised by the opposition National Conference legislator (MLA Kangan) Mian Altaf in the Legislative Assembly (January 9),he was joined by other opposition members whodemanded action against the attackers. Within no time, ruckus was created in the House compelling the Speaker Kavinder Gupta to adjourn the proceedings. The opposition staged a walkout from the House in protest against the attacks, the next day (January 11).

According to the National Conference legislator, the residents of Hariachak in the border area of Kathua district were attacked by RSS workers and BJP people last week. “Their houses were burnt and they were ruthlessly beaten,” he said.

Several people including cops were injured in clashes between the two communities in Kathua district (January 9). Providing details about the incident, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri said some locals of villageHariachakin Kathua found a beheaded head, allegedly of a cow, near the house of MaskeenGujjar, a resident of Chakdhari Harya, Chak Rajbagh, at around 7:30 am onJanuary 9. “As the news spread, around 200/300 members of the Hindu community assembled there and held a protest demonstration and also blocked the road. Soon after this one person took the cow head in possession. Thereafter, the gathering swelled up to 500/600 and they moved toHariachak chowk in the shape of a procession. On reaching Hariachak chowk, the gathering swelled to 700/800. Police made many attempts to stop the protesters but the protesters managed to reachHaria chowk where around 300/400 members of the Gujjar community had assembled. Stone pelting was resorted to by both the sides.”

Independent legislator and Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) chairman Er Abdul Rashid along with his party workers held a sit-in outside the civil secretariat in Jammu (January 11) against the Kathua attacks. Carrying banners reading, “Stop Terrorizing Muslims and Other Minorities”, “Stop Communalizing Jammu and Kashmir police” and “RSS aur Shiv Sena ko lagaam do, lagaam do” the protesters demanded “state terror against minorities especially Muslims to be stopped forthwith.” Er Rashid was earlier detained by police at Vijaypur in Jammuas he was on his way to Hariachak (January 9).

While separatists appealed to people to maintain religious harmony and brotherhood, Hurriyat (M) and Hurriyat (G) activists staged protests outside the historic Jama Masjid in the old city of Srinagar and at uptown Hyderpora respectively against the attack on Muslims in Kathua, JKLF staged similar protests in Srinagar city centre, Lal chowk. Kishtwar Muslim Shoura Committee too held a protest(January 13) against attacks on Muslims in Kathua and demanded an inquiry into the attacks.

Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq(January 13)said “targeting a particular community is aimed to instill fear among them and it seems to be a plan of RSS.” Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani (January 15) alleged“few agencies are trying their hard to flare tensions between various communities and sects.” JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik(January 13)described such acts as “intolerable” and said “the criminal silence of rulers at these attacks actually clears the fact that RSS-led PDP-BJP dispensation in J&K is hell-bent on destroying the fabric of unity in our society and is promoting communal hatred for their lust of power and authority.” He added, “the RSS and other communal organizations have been given a free hand to terrorize Muslims and the recent attacks on Muslims and burning of their properties is a glaring example of this free hand.”

A delegation of Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir visited Hariachak village in Kathua (January 14). Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology, Choudhary Lal Singh also visited the area (January 9)and appealed to people to maintain calm and harmony. 

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