Shutdown hits normal life in Kashmir
A complete shutdown was observed across the Kashmir Valley on Saturday over the Rajouri incident where a rightwing group had allegedly burnt an Islamic verse while protesting against IS earlier this week.
Most shops, business centres, petrol pumps, banks and offices remained closed. All schools and colleges also observed bandh.
Kashmir's traders' bodies Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation had called for a shutdown.
Separatist leaders, which include JKLF chief Yasin Malik and Hurriyat faction's chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, had backed the shutdown call.
Earlier on Monday, a riot took place in Pir Panchal's Rajouri district when groups like VHP and Bajrang Dal allegedly torched an IS flag bearing an Islamic verse.
A curfew was imposed in Rajouri following the incident to control the situation. However, there was a sharp reaction in the Valley over the incident and the detention of youth from a particular community.
The Hindu groups had later apologised for the incident.
Opposition National Conference provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani also castigated the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government for its inability to maintain communal harmony in Rajouri.
"It is sad that the present regime in spite of calming people is adding fuel to the fire. The deputy chief minister's remark of not arresting rightwing activists of Bajrang Dal, VHP involved in the sacrilegious act is condemnable and disturbing," he alleged.
The NC leader said this incident vindicated our stand of calling PDP and BJP two sides of the same coin. "The PDP-BJP combine is acting as a nexus where respect for religious beliefs is non-existent," he said.
"As a Muslim it pains us to see our religious scriptures being devoured by hate mongers who are hell bent to create a wedge between the two communities," he added.
The provincial president has expressed displeasure over Sayeed's silence over the incident. "Instead of asking Nirmal Singh to issue an apology for hurting sentiments of Muslims, PDP ministers are pressurising people by asking them not to protest," he alleged.
Separatist Mirwaiz also termed the activities of right wing Hindu extremist groups in Rajouri under the garb of democracy unacceptable.
"The reaction of Kashmiri people and business as well as other socio-political organisations to such an incident was a natural one. All protests against anti-Muslim riots were legitimate, adding, the Muslims of Rajouri were deliberately left on the mercy of blood thirsty right wing Hindu fanatics who were orchestrating terror against them," he said.