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Curfew Imposed, Internet Snapped in Parts of J&K After Prophet Remarks Protests

Anees Zargar |
Security was beefed up after protesters pelted stones near Markazi Jamia Masjid in Jammu.

Srinagar: The situation in Chenab Valley of the Jammu division continued to be tense on Friday after protests broke out in the districts of Doda and Kishtwar following the controversial remarks made by suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled party’s Delhi media chief Naveen Kumar Jindal on Prophet Muhammad.

Curfew has been imposed, Internet services shut down and security beefed up in several parts of Jammu and Kashmir. In Doda’s Bhaderwah town, stone-pelting was reported near Markazi Jamia Masjid as the administration beefed up the security in the area to thwart any law and order trouble, especially after Friday prayers.

A shutdown was observed in parts of Kashmir Valley, including in Srinagar, against the controversial remarks as all shops and business establishments remained shut. Normal life was disrupted in old Srinagar city while key markets, including the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, also observed the shutdown.

The situation escalated a day after locals in Chenab Valley protested the various social media posts from local representatives that allegedly extended support to the remarks made by Sharma and Jindal.

At the mosque, scores of demonstrators protested the remarks and one of the members of a local Muslim committee raised inflammatory slogans, according to the authorities. Subsequently, a curfew was imposed. A video of the slogans was later widely circulated on social media. The committee member, however, later told reporters that his words were “twisted” and taken “out of context”.

Action under the law has been taken and a case registered at Bhaderwah police station. Anyone who takes the law into their hands will not be spared,” the Jammu Police Media Centre said. “The situation is tense and more security forces have been brought here. There have been incidents of stone-pelting in the main town,” a local of Bhaderwah told Newsclick on the phone.

Many district officials and senior politicians in the Union Territory have appealed for peace. “I am deeply disturbed by the unpleasant situation that developed in #Bhaderwah yesterday. I humbly appeal to the elders and the heads of the two communities to sit together to maintain the traditional harmony for which the beautiful town of Bhaderwah has always been known for (sic),” Union minister of state Jitendra Singh tweeted.

Meanwhile, I am in constant touch with DC Doda Sh Vikas Sharma and Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sh Ramesh Kumar. DC Doda and SSP Doda are presently (sic) camping in Bhaderwah and personally monitoring the situation,” Singh further tweeted.

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