Kashmir Shares Gaza Tragedy

25 July 2014
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: Thousands of fasting Kashmiris Friday rallied in parts of Srinagar and other major towns in order to express solidarity with Palestinian people who have been under incessant military assault. Both Shia and Sunni groups had appealed people to observe the last Friday of the holy month of Ramazan as Quds Day. The call evoked overwhelming response as the separatists, pro-India politicians, NGOs, lawyers and even government employees concurred by holding large or token rallies to air resentment against what is now widely being described as Israeli aggression. The historic Grand Mosque at Nowhatta in old Srinagar witnessed the largest gathering. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who inherits the pulpit at the 15th century mosque, denounced the attacks on Gaza. However most of the separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani and Shabir Ahmed Shah were restricted by police that cordoned their homes in the wee hours Friday. Sternly condemning the Israeli aggression on Gaza, Mirwaiz decried the silence of international community, the UN, and the Arab league and said despite such a horrendous situation in Gaza, the inaction of these institutions was highly regrettable and a cause of concern. He stated that if Muslim world would realize its potential, Israel would not have dared to massacre Palestinians and stop the Muslims from offering prayers at Masjid-e-Aqsa. A number of gatherings were organized by Hurriyat leaders across the valley during which they highlighted the significance of Youm-e-Quds and Youm-e-Kashmir and presented the Hurriyat drafted resolutions before the people. The activists of Hurriyat M addressed gatherings at Budgam, Sajadabad Chattabal, Baba Yousuf Sopore, Pulwama, Jamia Masjid Handwara, Jamia Masjid Pakherpora, Dangerpora Sopore, Khanqah Sopore, Pulwama, Shopian, Moulvi Kulgam, and Bijbehara. Meanwhile the authorities have placed senior Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Shabir Ahmad Shah and Moulana Abbas Ansari were kept under house arrest . A pro-Palestine rally was also taken out from Abi Guzar neighborhood of Lal Chowk in which dozens of people took part. The protesters raised anti-America and anti-Israel slogans and expressed solidarity with people of Gaza. The protesters, on the occasion, torched an Israeli and American flag, an eyewitness said. Ittihadul Muslimeen organized peaceful demonstrations at Chattabal, Srinagar after Friday prayers. The demonstrators rallied against the 'barbarism and cruelty' perpetrated by Israel against the people in Gaza, a state issued by IM said. 'Maulana Masroor Ansari led the march because Moulana Abbas Ansari had been confined to home by the authorities,' the statement informed. Demonstrators and protesters were holding placards and banners which portrayed the situation in Gaza and chanted slogans like 'Down with America, Down with Israel, Save Gaza save Gaza' Protest rally was taken out from Sajjadia mosque, Chattabal, and ended at Qamarwari after marching through the streets of Karanagar, Kak Sarai and Darish Kadal, the statement said. Huge mass of people also thronged to Hazratbal Shrine, which the ruling National Conference has been using as its political base since decades. People there prayed for peace in Gaza. A CNS report, quoting 'a rough estimate' said at least two lakh people assembled at Hazratbal Shrine, located by the banks of famous Dal Lake. Mammoth congregations were also held in district big mosques and Imam bargahs across Kashmir where Imams delivered special lectures on philosophy of Ramadhan and Jumat-ul-Vida. They also assailed Israel for waging a unilateral and disproportionate war against the defenseless people of Palestine. A massive procession was taken out soon after Friday prayers at historic Jamia Masjid to express solidarity with the people of Gaza. Amid anti-Israel and anti-US slogans, people torched the Israeli flag and clashed with government forces there who had been deployed in strength to maintain law and order in the old city. Reports said that there were intense clashes between police and protestors while the protestors resorted to heavy stone-pelting and police fired tear smoke shells to disperse them. The clashes continued for hours. In Islamabad district, biggest Friday congregation prayers were held in Jamia Masjid Hanfia, Jamia Masjid Ahlihadith, Rehat Ded mosque and Bait-ul-Mukaram mosque in Islamabad town as well as in Dargah Khiram, Kaba Marg, Ziyarat I Sharief of Sheikh Zain u Din Wali (RA) Aishmuqam and Seer Hamdan. In Kulgam, the biggest congregational prayers were held in Ziyarat-e-Sharief Syed Simnania (RA) Qaimoh, Jamia Ahlihadith Khudwani and other mosques. Huge congregational prayers were also held in Darul-uloom Noor-ul-Islam Tral, Awantipora, Pampore Jamia Masjid and Tak Masjid in Shopian and Jamia Masjid Pulwama. During the procession at Tral, some youth resorted to stone-throwing and attacked CRPF 185 Battalion. Eyewitnesses said that the CRPF personnel fired in air and bursted dozens of tear smoke shells. During the clashes three persons including SHO Tral Nazir Ahmed were injured. Reports said that SHO Tral received four stitches on his face while another civilian Manzoor Ahmed Mir was shifted to Bones and Joint Hospital for further treatment. Most of the Qudas rallies culminated in a peaceful atmosphere in North, Central and South Kashmir.