Rally opposes J&K shutdowns
It was that rare thing in Kashmir: a protest against protests. But it didn't last long. Stone-throwing protestors targeted a group of about 200 people gathered at the city centre in Srinagar on Sunday for an anti-strike peace rally. HT reports.india Updated: Nov 08, 2010 00:37 IST
It was that rare thing in Kashmir: a protest against protests. But it didn't last long. Stone-throwing protestors targeted a group of about 200 people gathered at the city centre in Srinagar on Sunday for an anti-strike peace rally.
Participants at the rally included villagers from Ganderbal, chief minister Omar Abdullah's constituency (41 km from Srinagar), and areas in south Kashmir such as Kokernag and Chatergam.
The participants, who carried white flags, were brought to Srinagar in special vehicles by a little-known organisation called the Kashmir NGO Forum.
As the group reached the city's Lal Chowk, one of the men unfurled a white flag — symbolising peace — at the square.
"We are not against anybody but the common man's life has been badly affected by the strikes," said Mohammad Maqbool Lone, one of the rally organisers.
"We appeal to the separatists to call off the strikes immediately as the strikes have achieved nothing in the past four months," he said.
But Srinagar residents and shopkeepers were not impressed.
"What about the innocent children killed by security forces during these four months?" an angry young man asked, questioning the rationale for the rally.
Soon, a mob turned its ire at the flag-waving protestors, threw stones at them and assaulted them. One person was injured.
The police used batons and tear-gas shells against the stone-throwing mob and arrested two persons.