A storm is brewing in Kashmir over a social networking Facebook page with blasphemous remarks and images on Prophet Muhammad and Islam with hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s office phone number as contact for feed back.
On the call of Geelani to protests after Friday prayers against the blasphemous page, small rallies were organised at Kashmir University, uptown Srinagar’s Maisuma and Hari Singh High street.
Geelani had appealed to imams (priests) across Jammu and Kashmir to condemn “the devilish act in their Friday sermons”. “The blasphemous page is being used to abuse the Prophet Mohammad and mock at the Islamic tenets and holy places,” said Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar.
The Hurriyat said it will seek help of cyber experts to find out the people behind it. “Groups like Shiv Sena, Jan Sangh and other Hindu extremist groups could be behind the evil mischief,” alleged Akbar.
The page has already threatened the fragile calm in Kashmir restored this year after the 2010 summer unrest. Angry protesters carrying banners with demands on banning the Facebook marched in Srinagar’s volatile Maisuma area. The rally, however, dispersed peacefully.
At Har Singh High Street, a priest lead a procession demanding ban on alcohol, intoxicating drugs and the blasphemous page of the Facebook. “There is a deep rooted conspiracy to attack our ethos and provoke us,” said the Imam without revealing his name.
The FB page “This god will get more fans than Geelani” has united both the factions of the Hurriyat. “Use of Facebook for anti-Islam and anti-Muslim activities was a very serious and heinous crime…the police was busy using all its sources and power against the pro-freedom people while letting criminals a free hand,” alleged moderate Hurriyat leader Nayeem Ahmad Khan.
The police was put on an alert in Srinagar to keep protesters at bay. “There were minor clashes. The protests were mainly symbolic and no violence was reported. We cannot however lower our guard,” said a police officer on the condition of anonymity.
“Sensing serious threat to over year-long tranquility, the authorities have issued red alert against any attempts to create communal unrest in Kashmir Valley. This time around an outrageously blasphemous Facebook page, coupled with some recent religious conversions, is leading to a palpable mass mobilization,” said Ahmad Ali Fayaz, Valley’s senior journalist and expert on Kashmir militancy.
The controversial page has already been removed by the Facebook.