Saturday, January 3, 2009

Solidarity march for Gaza victims stopped in Kashmir, 17 injured

Srinagar, Jan 2: Hundreds of Kashmiris were out to  express solidarity with people of Gaza. But police didn't allow them to carry forward solidarity march. 17 people were injured when protesters in Kashmir clashed with the police. 
After offering funeral prayers to those martyred in Gaza at Kashmir’s grand mosque Jamia Masjid, hundred of people including women marched on the streets of Srinagar, shouting anti-Israel slogans. They burned Israeli flag as well.  
 “We want to show Israel that people of Palestine are not alone in their fight against oppression and discrimination. We share a common objective with the Palestinians and pledge our support to them by staging protests against Israel and reaffirm our commitment to free Kashmir from chains of bondage,” Zahoor Ahmad, a protester told a correspondent of a local daily. 
 The prayers were led by chairman of Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who linked the Palestine issue with the Kashmir dispute urging the international community to respect sentiments of people of the territories and help them to attain the right of self-determination. Hurriyat considers Kashmir as disputed and seeks its solution according to UN resolutions. 

As more youth joined the protests, police blocked the road at Khanyar by placing concertina wires and barricades. The protesters attempted to remove the blockades but police fired several tear smoke shells toward the protesters and chased them away. 
Protester pelted stones at police and paramilitary CRPF troopers. During the clashes the CRPF troopers once again severely thrashed several photojournalists, including GK photographer Mubashir Khan. The troopers beat up the journalists who were taking photos and filming the troopers detaining some youths. The clashes continued for several hours.
Earlier, while addressing the Friday congregation at Jamia Masjid, the Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz condemned the Israel’s onslaught on Palestine and expressed concern over what he termed as criminal silence of international community, including Muslim countries. 
 “We can understand the pain and suffering of people of Palestine as we are ourselves victims of terrorism and oppression by the Indian occupation troops. History bears testimony to the fact that Kashmiris have always raised their voice whenever inhuman acts were committed upon the Palestinians,” Mirwaiz said as devotes reciprocated by pro-freedom slogans.  
 Saluting the courage and resilience of Kashmiris and Palestinians, Mirwaiz said no force can suppress their sentiments. “Despite facing powerful countries, unarmed Kashmiris and Palestinians have been offering sacrifices and valiantly fighting against discrimination and the right of self-determination. What has added insult to injury of Muslims is the criminal silence of United Nations, Organization of Islamic Countries and Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia over the massacre of innocents in Palestine,” Mirwaiz said. 

Mirwaiz said, “If Israel with support of its god-father US has attacked Palestine its next target could be Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim Countries. It is a challenge for Muslim leadership to come forward and stop Israel from committing acts of terrorism. At least let the Muslim countries be united on the grave issue and impose sanctions on Israel to force it to stop killing more Palestinians,” he said.   
 Reports said protests against Israel were also held in south Kashmir’s Islamabad district. Mirwaiz Islamabad, Qazi Yasir managed to escape from the house arrest and lead the funeral prayers in absentia of Palestine victims. 

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