Kashmir Eid: Banners featuring photos of ‘active’ militants appear in Shopian, trigger raids

A banner hanging in Shopian on June 26, 2017 featuring photos of "active militants" of the district. (FPK Photo)

Srinagar: As Muslims across Kashmir are celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr on Monday along with crores of Muslims in Asia, banners were seen hanging walls across Shopian.

Eid-ul-Fitr, a revered festival of Muslims, marks end of holy Ramzan – a 29/30 long month in Islamic calendar when Muslims observe fast from dawn to dusk.

Big congregations of special prayers were held across Kashmir where a resolution passed by the joint resistance leadership was read.

Bashir Ahmad (name changed), a local of main town Shopian told the FreePressKashmir that banners with photos of “active militants” were seen hanging outside almost all Masjids across Shopian.

Shopian is one of the twenty two districts of J&K and is at least forty five kilometres from Srinagar – the summer capital of restive state.

“As the faithful were seen moving towards Eidgahs and Masjid murmuring prayers, banners had already appeared,” he said. Bashir did not wish to disclose his real name for security reasons.

Eidgah is an open space usually near Masjids where big congregations of Muslims are held.

“As soon as the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers concluded,”he added, “police appeared on the scene and raided the places to bring down life size banners.”

Bashir said that militants whose photos featured in the banners are “believed to be active in the region”.

He, however, said, “people resorted to stone pelting and stopped the men in uniform from taking away the banners triggering widespread clashes as forces launched tear gas shells.”

Similar scenes were witnessed in Pallahan and Sopore towns of Baramulla district, situated in north of Srinagar.

Clashes erupted at both places resulting in injuries to at least fifteen people, most of whom were hit by pellets.

The Muslims in the areas had took out a march amid slogans seeking “freedom” and in “praise of Pakistan”.

Bashir, the Shopian man, further said, “police are trying to control the situation and bring down the banners but youth are adamant and present in main town to stop any such move.”

Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama, the three neighbouring districts, all located south of Srinagar are “sensitive region of Kashmir because of active homegrown militants”.

The districts have witnessed majority of military operations in recent past resulting in militant as well as civilian killings.

This year, the Eid celebrations in this restive region are subdued because of the prevailing situation.

Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani asked people to celebrate Eid with austerity.

The biggest congregation of the faithful was witnessed in Eidgah Srinagar.

In a  resolution issued by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, people were asked to remain steadfast while the resistance leadership castigated government of India over civilian killings in Kashmir.

The resolution was read in almost all Masjids across Kashmir.

Slamming the governments in J&K and Delhi, the resistance leadership alleged that the raids carried out by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) were aimed at defaming “the freedom movement and crippling the economy of J&K”.

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