No Casualties In Kashmir Protests Against Film Mocking Islam

No Casualties In Kashmir Protests Against Film Mocking Islam

18 September 2012
The Economic Times
Masood Hussain

Srinagar: A strike called by separatists and Muslim clerics against a film mocking Islam, made by an American citizen, passed off without major incidents in Jammu and Kashmir. Police had to fire teargas shells at a few spots in Srinagar to quell highly-charged mobs which resorted to stone pelting. In the afternoon, a huge procession tried to move towards the United Nations Military Observers Group to submit a memorandum against the film, but the police stopped them. It triggered a massive clash and the mob set afire a government-owned jeep. As police baton-charged, the mob resorted to stone pelting, attacking the official residence of deputy chief minister Tara Chand and forest minister Mian Altaf Ahmad. 'For a while it was terrifying,' an officer who was at the residence of Tara Chand at the time of stone pelting, said. 'It died down as police used teargas shells.' The fleeing mob later attacked Sangharmal Mall. A similar protest was dispersed in Batamaloo. Some protests turned violent in the old city. A group of youth, enforcing strike, attacked a police jeep that was passing by. 'It overturned and that triggered a clash between two sides,' a witness, Raashid of Aalmgiri Bazaar, told ET by phone. 'I am told there were some arrests as well, but there were no casualties.' There were protests in almost all peripheral towns. A massive protest in Anantnag saw a prolonged clash between protesters and police. Similar reports were received from Baramulla and Sopore township. Police, however, said it exhibited restraint to avoid casualties. Demonstrations took place amid massive police deployments. The inter-Srinagar and inter-district transport services were paralysed. Banks and government offices reported thin attendance and no educational institutions functioned. The state has the history of ferociously reacting to extra-terrestrial developments related to Islam. In 2005, when US marines in Guantanamo Bay were accused of desecrating the Koran, that state shut down for many days.