Protests Continue In Kashmir
22 June 2007
Srinagar: For the second consecutive day, there were protests in Kashmir on Friday against conferring knighthood on controversial writer Salman Rushdie. In response to a call given by the Hizb-ul Mujahideen and Jamiat-ul Mujahideen, normal life was affected here and other major towns. Business houses were closed and vehicles were off the road and attendance in Government offices was thin. Mufti's call The bandh was in response to a call by the grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mohammed Bashiruddin, to execute Rushdie and boycott his books. 'We had also issued a fatwa in 1984 when Satanic Verses was published. His writing has deeply hurt the Muslims and he deserves to die, as per the tenets of Islam,' the Mufti told The Hindu. He said the re was no going back on the fatwa. At many places, people took to the streets after the Friday prayers and staged protest demonstrations. The biggest one was at Jamia Masjid, where Kashmir's head priest and moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq delivered the Friday sermon. He also criticised the knighthood decision, saying it was an attempt the sentiments of Muslims all over the world. At a rally from Gawkadal to Lal Chowk, protesters raised slogans against Britain and demanded that Mr. Rushdie be hanged. Books removed Fearing trouble, booksellers here removed Mr. Rushdie's books. 'Very few people in Kashmir read these books,' said one of them. Chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani termed the award to Rushdie a highly mischievous act. Moulana Showkat Ahmad, head of Jamiat-e-Ahlehadees, said the British Government must reconsider its decision immeadiately. 'Otherwise, it will further widen the gulf between the east and the west,' he said.