Strike, Protests Over Derogatory Speech On Video, Police Arrests Three

SRINAGAR: Most of the Muslim majority areas in Jammu province observed a complete shutdown and there were various symbolic protests as well. The situation is reported tense but under control.

People staged protest in Banihal area of Ramban on Monday, August 17, 2020. KL Image: Special Arrangement

The tensions erupted in reaction to derogatory comments against Islam by some person in Reasi. The statement recorded on a video had gone viral on Sunday.

Mukesh Singh, who heads the police in Jammu said they have registered a case against three accused – of whom two have been already been detained on Sunday and another was arrested on Monday. Two are speaking on the video and the third is recording it.

The trio was booked for disrupting communal disharmony under Sections 153 and 295 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Reports reaching here said that a complete shutdown was observed in Doda, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar and the partial shutdown was reported in Banihal area of the Ramban district. Shops and other business establishments remained closed and people restricted themselves to their homes.

Authorities made huge deployments of the police and paramilitary forces across Jammu but certain community sensitive areas had additional deployments.

Quoting SSP Kishtwar, Harmeet Singh reports said there was “no curfew in the district however there is bandh was in progress as people had called for it.”

Reports said the residents made announcements on the mikes asking people to stay indoors in protest. The protest was so fear peaceful.

Meanwhile, people staged a protest and observed partial Shutdown in Banihal town of Ramban district.

Sources said that all shops and other business establishments remained closed in Banihal and adjoining markets.

Traffic movement remained affected on the highway for some time due to the protest, they said.

Protest demonstrations were also reported from Tral town of Pulwama district and Sogam area of Kupwara district.

Sources said that scores of people staged a protest demonstration in Sogam Lolab area over the incident.

Urging the administration to step in, the people demanded that “such unscrupulous elements be dealt with sternly to serve a message to other such like-minded people to avoid communal hatred.”

The agitated people asked the administration “to take immediate action and hang the culprits involved in the derogatory act.”

Various religious and political bodies have strongly reacted to the situation. In a statement, National Conference expressed outrage and seeking exemplary punishment to such deranged elements under law who are hell-bent to destroy the traditional amity and brotherhood in J&K.

“Jammu and Kashmir has been an alcove of peace, and brotherhood; the people of J&K have never allowed themselves get swayed by such elements as are hell-bent to destroy the inter-communal harmony and brotherhood, the prized heirloom of our pluralistic culture,” said party’s Additional General Secretary Dr. Sheikh Mustafa Kamal while expressing outrage over the remarks.

He said such statements should not be seen in isolation and that such senseless remarks are part of larger game to destroy the unity and brotherhood in J&K. “Islam is a religion of peace, the literal meaning of the term itself connotes the same meaning.  The cardinal message of the holy Prophet of Islam (SAW) was of peace, brotherhood, amity, equality and equity. Almighty Allah displayed the model of the perfect human in the person of the holy prophet of Islam (SAW). Outstanding patience, forgiveness, piety and benevolence are few among the greatest attributes of the Holy Messenger (SAW) who was sent as a mercy to all mankind, not specific group or race; he epitomized good moral character, and behavior. Truthfulness and honesty were intrinsic part of his holy disposition, that he became Al Amin.”

He further added, “I take this opportunity to appeal people to maintain calm as such unscrupulous elements do not belong to any religion, and it is for the government to ensure that the culprit is behind the bars. The media team involved in the matter should be taken to task for airing such blasphemous remarks as it goes against the broadcast policy of the country. There should be no room for such errand elements and organizations in our society. The people of J&K reject such elements and bigoted ideologies and views, mutual harmony and brotherhood are the traits which have long been the cultural mainstay of J&K. I on my behalf and on behalf of my party condemn such remarks and demand exemplary punishment to the culprits and outlawing of the group. The license of the media channel should also be cancelled immediately for beaming such improper content. The reporter should also be taken to task for allowing such derogatory language to go on air,” he said.

Demanding speedy, stern and exemplary action against those involved in the act of Blasphemy in Jammu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has termed the FIR lodged in this connection as weak and legally untenable.

In a statement, party Spokesman and Former MLC Firdous Tak has urged upon the authorities that all necessary steps be taken to make a watertight case against the culprits so that they are brought to justice in the court of law.

“While we appreciate the swift action by the inspector general of police Jammu Zone, going by how the FIR has been drafted, it raises questions on how things are being dealt at the ground level”, tak said.

Explaining further, Tak said that the FIR registered in the said case in Pakka Danga Police station has invoked section 153 of the IPC while the same can only be done when the complainant is the District Magistrate, which isn’t the case here. That leaves the case weak and legally untenable.  “This raises questions on the intent of the people handling the case at the ground level”, Tak added.

“The party has expressed serious concern and strongly demanded that perpetrators of the blasphemous act who have hurt feelings of billions of Muslims across the globe apart from creating enmity between communities must be brought to justice at the earliest without succumbing to any pressures from known patrons of those involved,” he said.

In a statement expressing outrage at the derogatory and blasphemous remarks by members of Sentinel Bharat Raksha Manch Reasi, the ANC President Begum Khalida Shah and her son, who is vice president of the party, Muzzafar Shah have demanded slapping of Public Safety Act against such communal elements and sealing of the Raksha Manch offices operating anywhere in the Jammu division.

The Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) Jammu Kashmir headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who continues to be under house detention for a year now, has strongly condemned the blasphemous remarks. He termed it “a deliberate attempt to hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the world”.

Terming the blasphemous remarks by zealots Satpal Sharma and Deepak, meant to cause hurt and hatred and hence unendurable, the MMU – a conglomerate of religious bodies of Jammu Kashmir – said it is extremely unfortunate that the anti-Islam forces are being timed and again encouraged to indulge in such provocative acts to serve their petty interests by hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims.

According to a statement, all the religious, educational, social and welfare organisations associated with the MMU which comprise Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid, Dar-ul-Uloom Raheemiya, Muslim Personal Law Board, Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Jama’at-e-Islami, Anjuman Sharia’n Shian, Karwaan-e-Islami, Itihaad-ul-Muslimeen, Anjuman Himayat-ul-Islam, Jamiat Hamdania, Anjuman Ulema-e-Ahnaaf, Dar-ul-Uloom Qasmia, Dar-ul-Uloom Bilaliya, Anjuman Nusrat-ul-Islam, Anjuman Mazhar-ul-Haq, Jamiat-ul-Aima Wal Ulema, Anjuman Aima Wa Mashaa’ikh Kashmir, Dar-ul-Uloom Naqshbandiya, Dar-ul-Uloom Rasheediya, Ahl-e-Bayt Foundation, Madrasa Kanz-ul-Uloom, Perwaan-e-Wilayat, Auqaf Islamiya Khurram Sarhama, Anjuman Tanzeem-ul-Makaatib, Muhammadi Trust, and others in a joint statement made it clear that Muslims can never tolerate such disrespect remarks.

The MMU, in the statement, warned the government and demanded strict and exemplary punishment to those who committed this crime and have been arrested, so that no one swayed with communal frenzy and deliberate provocation musters courage to commit such shameful act again or harm the centuries-old communal harmony and mutual brotherhood in Jammu and Kashmir.

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