SRINAGAR: Police on Saturday arrested Mudasir Gul, 32, for drawing a painting – the Palestinian flag and a woman, on a bridge in Srinagar’s Padshahi Bhag. “We Are Palestine,” the graffiti read.
Later that day, Mudasir was caught by the police and asked him to rub his painting. Gul defaced the graffiti with patches of black paint and was then let go. The same night, police raided the locality and arrested many other boys, including the artist.
Police have confirmed to media that 21 persons were rounded up, 20 in Srinagar and one in Shopian. The one arrested in Shopian was Sarjan Barkati who had briefly spoken about Palestine on the day of Eid.
Mudasir and many others are currently lodged at police station Sadder in Srinagar. It is not known under which section they have been arrested.
Earlier in the day, the Kashmir police chief issued a statement saying that the police are keeping a close watch on “elements” attempting to “leverage the unfortunate situation in Palestine to disturb public peace and order in Kashmir”. The police, he said, won’t “allow cynical encashment of the public anger to trigger violence, lawlessness, and disorder on Kashmir streets”.
The police crackdown came after small, symbolic anti-Israel protests in Srinagar’s Padshahi Bagh and Safa Kadal areas in which the Israeli flag was set afire.