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Shiite Muslims in Kashmir burn Bush effigy

The effigy was emblazoned with the words "Muslim-Kush GW Bush" ("anti-Muslim GW Bush").

india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 19:29 IST

Several Shiite Muslims on Monday held demonstrations for a fourth consecutive day in Kashmir to protest at the bombing of their shrine in Iraq, witnesses said.

The biggest demonstration was held in Srinagar with protesters burning a huge effigy of US President George W Bush, who is due to visit India in March.

The effigy was emblazoned with the words "Muslim-Kush GW Bush" ("anti-Muslim GW Bush").

It was set alight in front of a small UN military office in Srinagar as protestors, many wearing black headbands, shouted anti-US slogans such as "Down with Bush, down with America".

The demonstration was led by key Shiite religious leader Aga Syed Hassan, who is a member of the region's moderate separatist alliance.

Hassan later presented a memorandum to UN officials addressed to Secretary General Kofi Annan urging him to hand out "exemplary punishment to those who desecrate holy shrines."

Hassan denounced Wednesday's attack as "barbaric."

The bombing destroyed the gilded dome of the Shiites' 1,000-year-old Imam Ali al-Hadi mausoleum in Samarra.

No one has claimed responsibility, although the US suspects Sunni extremists allied to Al-Qaeda were behind the bombing that triggered reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques in Baghdad.

First Published: Feb 27, 2006 19:29 IST