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Kashmir: Protests Against Killing of Iran’s Qasem Soleimani in US Strikes

The protesters, mainly from Shia community, from across districts reached the central market of Budgam town and raised anti-US and anti-Israel slogans during the demonstration.
Qasem Soleimani

Photo by Kamran Yousuf

Srinagar: Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on January 3 to hold a demonstration against the killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad by US strikes earlier on Thursday.

The protesters, mainly from Shia community, from across districts reached the central market of Budgam town and raised anti-US and anti-Israel slogans during the demonstration. The protest was organised by a social work group, Al Mehdi Foundation.

Carrying placards that read “Down with Israel” and “Down with the US”, the protesters also carried pictures of the slain General Soleimani as they held the protest. Gen. Soleimani’s killing was both confirmed by the US’ Pentagon and Iranian government.

The demonstration, which began at around 11:30 AM remained peaceful throughout and concluded at around 3 PM. Protests were also held in several other areas of the valley. Scores of protesters held a similar rally in Magam area where demonstrators holding portraits of Gen. Soleimani raised slogans against the US and Israel.

“We organised the protest against the US hegemony and their aggression in Baghdad. They carry out strikes anywhere without any reason and put the lives of people in danger. We are against the US’ state terrorism,” a local organiser Abid Ahmad told NewsClick. 

The demonstrators also carried a rally in the town from Old Bus Station to New Bus Station in which people from all age groups and gender participated. 

“We do not feel safe and with strikes like these no one is safe. It is important to protest this aggression and show solidarity with people who are being targeted by the US and Israel,” another protester Saqib Ali said.

Portraits and banners of Ayatollah Khomenei and the incumbent Ayatollah Khamenei, former and present head of states of Iran can be seen mostly in Shia dominated areas, across the valley. Shias, which constitute about 9% of the valley’s population, identify themselves with Iran which has a cultural and civilisational impact on Kashmir. The community has on several occasions carried out protests on issues related to Iran and on many instances waved Iranian flags as well as flags of militant outfit Hezbollah.

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