Kashmir celebrates Eid peacefully, ignores protest-call against army landing

  • Ashiq Hussain, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 27, 2012 17:43 IST

Kashmir celebrated Eid with fervour on Saturday regardless of a call by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for symbolic protests as the day coincides with the anniversary of landing of Indian troops in 1947.

Thousands of Muslims offered Eid-ul-Azha prayers across the valley with no major violence reported from any part except for an incident of stone pelting in old city Eidgah after the prayers.

Geelani had appealed "freedom loving" people to "stage symbolic protests on Eid prayers and renew the pledge to carry forward the struggle for the freedom of Kashmir".

Every year since insurgency began in the state in 1989, the day marks a complete shutdown in Kashmir valley with separatists observing it as a "black day".
"Since the day coincides with Islamic festival of Eid-ul-Azha, instead of strike people should hold symbolic protests and pass resolutions," Geelani had said expressing the intentions of offering prayers at Hazratbal Shrine.

But authorities placed almost all the senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah and Muhammad Nayeem Khan under house arrest in Srinagar.

Except for some stone pelting in old city Eidgah after the Eid prayers, police said overall situation remained peaceful.

"There were some stone pelting incidents but overall situation remained peaceful," a police spokesman said. Eyewitnesses said that police and CRPF resorted to lathi charge and teargas shelling to disperse the youth in Eidgah. They said that security forces broke window panes of some parked vehicles during the clashes.

Earlier people thronged religious places like Hazratbal shrine, Jamia Masjid, Janab Sahab Soura in Srinagar and other major towns in the Valley in thousands to offer Eid prayers.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah offered prayers at the Hazratbal shrine, while Union Minister for Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah joined the congregation at the Syed Yagoob Sahab shrine in the Sonawar area of Srinagar. After the prayers, people remained busy in visiting their relatives and friends to share the meat of their sacrificial animal, locally called Qurbaan.

After the 1947 partition of the subcontinent by British colonial rulers into Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan, the Hindu ruler of the Muslim region of Kashmir - facing the threat of an invasion by Pakistani tribesmen - signed an instrument of accession with New Delhi in return for military aid.

As part of this deal, Indian troops landed in Kashmir on Oct 27, 1947, to push the Pakistani tribesmen back with then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru promising for a plebiscite.
Since then the army marks the event as "Martyrs' Day" while many in Kashmir still challenge the accession with Indian union.


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