On the eve of Eid-ul-Adha, huge gatherings of Muslim worshippers were witnessed in the mosques, prayer grounds and shrines across the Kashmir region with post-Eid prayer protests and clashes, witnesses said.
The largest gathering of worshippers was witnessed in Dargah Hazratbal shrine, where nearly one lakh people offered Eid congregational prayers.
After Dargah, largest gatherings were witnessed in Pologround and central Jamia Masjid in summer capital Srinagar.
Kashmir’s chief priest, and chairman of his Hurriyat faction, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq delivered sermon in central Jamia Masjid before Eid prayers and asked people to follow the teachings of Islam. He enlightened the ultimate sacrifices of Prophet Abraham and his son, Prophet Ismail.
There were reports of similar gatherings from other district headquarters, towns, and villages of the Kashmir region.
Protests and clashes
Soon after Eid prayers, hundreds of youth took out rally from Jamia Masjid in summer capital, Srinagar. The protesters were chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. The protesters, who were holding pictures of slain Al Qaeda founder, Osama Bin Laden, and gun-toting Taliban militants, marched towards Khanyar, witnesses said.
The witnesses told Kashmir Dispatch that when the protesters reached near Khanyar police station, they were intercepted by police and paramilitary Central Reserve police Force (CRPF), which triggered violent clashes in the area.
The forces fired numerous teargas shells and chased the stone-throwing youth, which created panic in the Khanyar and adjoining areas, witnesses said.
The clashes continued for about half an hour between youth and government forces. However, no one was injured or detained.
In Pologround Srinagar, the youth staged pro-freedom protests after Eid prayers. However, they were chased away by the police, witnesses said.
They, the witnesses, told Kashmir Dispatch that the protests were lead by resistance leader, Mushtaq-ul-Islam, who was recently released from the detention of three years.
“Police also chased Mushtaq. However, he managed to escape,” a journalist, who was covering the protest, told Kashmir Dispatch.
The situation later returned to normal in the area.
In Bandipora, Baramulla, and Sopore town, peaceful protests broke out after Eid Prayers. Similar protests erupted in Shopian town after Eid prayers.
People allege ransacking
The residents of Khanyar accused police and paramilitary CRPF of ransacking window panes and glasses of houses after clashes in the area. The residents told Kashmir Dispatch over phone that while chasing stone-throwing youth, police and CRPF resorted to ransacking. They also accused forces’ of thrashing bystanders and bikers.
“After failing to nab stone-throwing youth, forces attacked our houses with batons and stones. They hurled abuses on us. Even, the CRPF personals thrashed few bystanders, bikers,” a resident, wishing anonymity, told Kashmir Dispatch.
Journalists allege harassment
The video and photo-journalists, who were covering clashes in Khanyar, accused CRPF of harassing them. A photo-journalist told Kashmir Dispatch that CRPF asked them to leave the spot.
“They also hurled abuses on us,” a photo-journalist, who works with a local daily, said.