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Kashmiri shuts down over blasphemous video

Protests are held in Kashmir as video of a hindu man insulting the Prophet Muhammad surfaces online, the region is still in lockdown

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Protests were held in several parts of the Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday after a video in which a Hindu man is heard making derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad went viral social media.

Protests were held in Lolab area of Kashmir Valley and in Reasi, Thathri, Doda and Baderwah areas of Jammu region, eyewitnesses in the areas told Anadolu Agency.

Government had imposed a curfew in Kishtar area

The government has imposed a curfew in Kishtwar area of Jammu, which has witnessed religious riots in the past.

Normal life remained paralysed across Kashmir valley on Friday due to restrictions imposed by authorities and a strike called by various religious and secessionist groups to protest controversial caricatures of Islamic prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by various media houses.

Muttahida Ulema Ahle Sunnat (MUAS) had called for a complete shutdown against the publication of the blasphemous video

Various pro-freedom and trade organizations had supported the strike call. MUAS has urged Muslims of the Valley to hold peaceful rallies and processions, starting from local Masjids after congregrational Friday prayers.

Read more: Blasphemy and exploitation by religious extremists

Mufti Nasir, the grand mufti in the region, has asked people to hold peaceful demonstrations on Friday after Zuhr prayers against the blasphemous remarks.

“No Muslim would tolerate abuses against the prophet. The culprits should be detained under preventive law and should be handed a strict punishment. Their words have the potential to disturb the peace,” Nasir told the media.

On Sunday evening, police said the accused, identified as Satpal and Deepak, have been arrested.

Mukesh Singh, the police chief in the region, said in a video statement that search was on for a third person that could be seen in the controversial video.

FIR report has a flaw

“I appeal to the people to desist from circulating the video as it will harm communal amity. The police will never tolerate these persons who create tensions between communities. Police will act harshly against such people,” Singh said.

He also warned of “stringent action” against those who circulate or share the video to “spread communal disharmony”.

Read more: Indian police fall prey to Islamophobia: Rights Groups

Firdous Tak, a former lawmaker from Jammu, said the first information report registered by the police against the accused has a legal flaw.

In a Twitter post, Tak said the district magistrate concerned should have filed the complaint against the accused, adding in absence of such a complaint, it is easier for the accused to walk free.

Indian police in the Kashmir region has been stringent in its allowance of dissent in the Kashmir valley. It is unlikely to allow any form of law and order situation in the valley.

Disputed region

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Read more: Freedom of speech and blasphemous caricatures 

Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir. Kashmir has become fuel for more animosity between the two nations as India has controversially and illegally revoked article 370 of its constitution.

This article which allowed Kashmiris a certain amount of autonomy was revoked in what was considered by many an unconstitutional way. The leaders of the region were put under house arrest and the entire region under lockdown.

This has created between the two nations freshened tensions and both nations have since then released revised maps, claiming the entire region.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict since 1989.

On Aug. 5, 2019, the Indian government revoked Article 370 and other related provisions from its Constitution, scrapping the country’s only Muslim-majority state of its autonomy. It was also split into two federally administered territories.

Read more: World Minorities day: Pakistan reminds the world of Kashmiri plight

Simultaneously, it locked the region down, detaining thousands of people, imposing restrictions on movement and enforcing a communications blackout.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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