Srinagar cowds rally against Katiyar remark
13 March 2002
The Asian Age
Srinagar: Surging crowds protested senior VHP leader Vinay Katiyar’s remark about the holy relic at the Hazratbal shrine on Wednesday. The crowds clashed with the riot police at several places across Srinagar. The police fired teargas canisters and used sticks to break up the protest rallies taken out at Maisuma, Gaw Kadal, Madina Chowk and some other localities of Srinagar. As groups of students, boycotting their classes, joined the protests, the street clashes between them and the police spread to some other localities also and continued for the rest of the day. A few persons, including several policemen were injured in the stone-throwing and retaliatory police actions. Among the injured was JKLF’s Javed Mir who said: “We, the people of Kashmir may be weak and oppressed, but we can’t tolerate such unwarranted remarks from a religious fanatic who has made the comments with a definite purpose of driving a wedge between Muslims and Hindus.” He added, “the people who sacrificed thousands of precious lives to achieve freedom can go to any extent when it comes to the namus (honour) of our great Prophet Muhammed.” Human rights activist Muhammad Ahsun Ontoo and leader of the J&K Realistic Front, Jameel Ahmed War led the protests at Maisuma. The Jammu Kashmir Students’ Association, which actively participated in Wednesday’s demonstrations, has called for a general strike in the Valley on Friday. Several political and religious groups have endorsed the strike call. Shops and other businesses in some localities remained closed in view of the growing tension. Traders shut their shops where the police and protesters clashed. Traffic was also disputed on the routes affected by violence. The rest of the Valley however, remained peaceful with only stray incidents reported from south Kashmir. Later, during the day the members of the Kashmir High Court Bar Association staged a sit-in in front of the district magistrate’s office, while their leaders were inside to submit an application to the official. The application seeks the district magistrate’s permission as per Term 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1989 (1933 AD) before initiating legal action against Mr Katiyar. Mr Nazir Ahmed Wrong, the president of the association, said that the district magistrate, Mr Abdul Hamid, has assured him that he would take a decision on their application in a day or two.